Sunday, November 30, 2008

Open Season

We've been going to the annual Lock 3 tree lighting in downtown Akron since it started five years ago. At that time we lived just around the corner on Merriman in Highland Square. Since our flight to the suburbs a couple years ago, the trip to downtown has gone from a five minute drive to a 15 or 20 minute drive, but it's worth it, because this is what Akron is all about.

This year was the best yet. As usual, the Cleveland NBC affiliate simulcast the festivities and Santa arrived by train, sang, and lit up the Akron U. Polsky Building and the Christmas Tree by shooting sparks across downtown, then started the fireworks display the same way!

The fireworks launched from the art deco YMCA building were spectacular this year, lighting up the sky with reds and greens and whites. It's this feeling of small town mixed with city that keeps us here in Akron -- a part of the community.

We wandered the Chriskindl Market, our senses assaulted by the smells of fresh waffles, roasted almonds, hot chocolate, brightly colored ornaments and finely detailed clocks and carvings, and holiday music in the air. And we watched the ice rink fill up with skaters and families crowd into the heated German food tent. Across the street, the Peanut Shoppe, an Akron landmark, was jammed with holiday revelers and had a line out the door.

And as we were walking from our car to Main Street when we arrived, they were playing "Deck the Halls" in what my wife and I swear was the version played over the opening credits of A Christmas Story. Another perfect day after Thanksgiving in northeast Ohio.

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