The winter holidays have arrived! Now that Thanksgiving is here and the shopping rush is on, many seniors living in Cincinnati are looking for memorable ways to celebrate the season with their families.
So what’s new this year? Which Christmas traditions are returning? Are there special Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or New Year’s events that seniors should check out?
Today, we thought we give you a brief overview of all the wonderful celebrations we’ve heard about, that we think seniors (and their grandkids!) would enjoy.
WinterFest is Back!
You read that right. Kings Island’s holiday festival was last celebrated 12 years ago before it was put on indefinite hiatus, which saddened many fans. But last year, after a few years following its acquisition of the Mason, Ohio, amusement park, Cedar Fair announced plans to resurrect WinterFest.
This year, that promise becomes a reality.
On select nights between Nov. 24 and Dec. 30, Kings Island’s International Street will once again be transformed into a magical winter village (complete with a 31-story Christmas tree easily seen for 20 miles in any direction) with special treats and sweets, holiday-themed shows, Peanuts characters, artisan displays in local shops, ice skating on the fountain lake, and thousands of twinkling lights.
Tickets are $25 per person if purchased online in advance. Group discounts are available for parties of 15 or more. It’s a great opportunity to get the extended family together and enjoy the season with a wonderful Cincinnati tradition!
Cincinnati Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Speaking of exceptional Cincinnati holiday traditions, the Cincinnati Ballet’s annual run of The Nutcracker will take place Dec. 14 – Dec. 24. Most performances start at 7:30 p.m., but several Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee shows are available.
Like WinterFest, this year marks a bit of a return. The Ballet will once again stage their Nutcracker performances in stunning, newly-renovated Music Hall, after having performed it at other venues for the last 11 years.
You and your grandkids will embark on a magical journey with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince, follow the Snow Queen and her King to the Land of Sweets, and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy, all set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score.
Cincinnati has a rich Judaic tradition dating back to the early 19th Century. In fact, Cincinnati was the birthplace of Reform Judaism. In 2017, the Jewish community will celebrate Hanukkah beginning at sundown on Tuesday, Dec. 12, and end the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 20.
This year, the Mayerson JCC will host a special Hanukkah event on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 1 p.m. at Cincinnati Museum Center’s Holiday Junction, in downtown’s Union Terminal. Learn more about holidays around the world and celebrate Hanukkah with story time and dreidel crafting.
Afterward, stick around and check out Brickopolis — 1,800 floor-to-ceiling square feet of custom LEGO creations by the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana LEGO Users Group (OKILUG), including motorized trains, whimsical local scenes, and quirky surprises.
Then, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m., Blue Manatee Children’s Books in Oakley will host a Hanukkah story hour. Come hear stories about the miracle of the oil and the rededication of the Second Temple, sing along with songs of the holiday and, of course, spin the dreidel with friends!
The Duke Energy Holiday Trains Aren’t on Display this Year, but . . .
For over 70 years, Duke Energy’s (formerly CG&E) holiday train display has been a December fixture in the Tristate. In 2011, the display was permanently moved from Duke’s downtown lobby to the Cincinnati Museum Center.
Now, with much-needed, long overdue renovations underway at Union Terminal, the Duke Energy Holiday Trains are in the second year of a two-year hiatus, while a new gallery is being constructed for them.
But Cincinnati seniors and their grandchildren can still experience the magic of giant train displays this season — at EnterTRAINment Junction, in West Chester, just off the Tylersville Rd. exit on I-75.
In EnterTRAINment’s Christmas Journey, you and the family can step back in time to a 1950s street scene, resplendent with nostalgic department store display windows!
After you view the displays, ride the narrow gauge electric train, and remember to stop by the North Pole to see the reindeer, watch the elves make toys, visit Mrs. Claus’ kitchen to get a cookie, and visit with Santa in his study.
So many wonderful things for seniors and their families to experience this holiday in Cincinnati!
Don’t just take our recommendations. Get online and search for new ways to celebrate the holidays in Cincinnati. Take in some older traditions, or establish some new ones for your family.
Above all, Cincinnati seniors, be sure to get out of the house and make some winter magic.