Shopping, fun for holidays: Carriage rides, scavenger hunt for downtown event

An evening of holiday shopping and other activities are in store for visitors Thursday during an annual event designed to bring people to downtown Columbus.

The event, “A Not So Silent Night,” will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. and will feature free carriage rides, an elf scavenger hunt and children’s holiday activities. Downtown merchants will also offer special sales.

The elf scavenger hunt, which will run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., is open to children ages 12 and under. Scavenger hunt cards can picked up at participating downtown businesses, who will initial or stamp them once an elf has been found at one of 14 locations.

Individuals who have their scavenger hunt cards filled out can drop them off at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St., to be entered into a drawing to win children’s prizes donated by local merchants.

“Every year, it’s a lot of fun to see how each merchant decides to celebrate,” said Diane Robbins, president of the Columbus Downtown Merchants’ Association

Viewpoint Books, 548 Washington St., is among the participating downtown businesses. It plans to have a magical winter wonderland in its basement, an area known as the Book Cellar.

The space will feature winter decorations, miniature Christmas trees, lights and a model train traveling through a village setting, said Beth Stroh, who owns Viewpoint Books with her husband John.

Children will also be able to enjoy book coloring and word searches during their visit, while four local book authors will be on hand to sign copies of their books, Stroh said.

The magical winter wonderland will be fun for people to see, she said.

“It’ll be a comfortable place to walk through and see some of the holiday sights,” Stroh said.

Stroh said the downtown holiday event is an important one for downtown business owners who rely on support of the community.

“It’s a nice part of the holiday shopping season,” Stroh said.

Jeff Baker, owner of Baker’s Fine Gifts & Accessories at 433 Washington St., said he plans to offer refreshments to customers, gift wrapping and help them with their shopping needs.

Baker said he particularly enjoys seeing people the business wouldn’t normally see and the joy that’s evident during the holiday season.

“There’s a sense of nostalgia about it,” Baker said.

Children ages 5 to 12 can also enjoy some time at the kidscommons children’s museum, 309 Washington St., where they can eat pizza, play games and make holiday crafts during the downtown event from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Pre-registration is required by Tuesday at a cost of $14 for members and $18 for non-members. Registration can be completed by calling the museum at 812-378-3046.

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What: "A Not So Silent Night"

When: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Downtown Columbus

Other information: Free carriage rides, local shopping at downtown merchants and an elf scavenger hunt for children 12 and under.