Ho Ho oh no — the Grinch is coming to Crocker Park! On Saturday, the green Christmas-stealing menace will make his season-long debut at Crocker Park. He will be followed by the Whos from Whoville, characters from Frozen, and — of course — Santa! The jolly old elf will help ring in Crocker’s official tree lighting with a Christmas tree that’s 50-feet-high — too tall for even the Grinch to steal!
“At 8 o’clock when we turn the tree on, we’re also turning on all the holiday lights throughout the whole park,” said Vice President of Marketing for Stark Enterprises, Stacie Schmidt. “The whole park is dark and then it’s just bright and beautiful all at once.”
The event will be hosted by Star 102’s Jen and Tim and begin at noon at 177 Market St. when Crocker’s Holiday Experiences will officially open. These include the Cleveland Monsters Ice Skating Rink, Santa’s Village & Gift Shop, the Serpentini of Westlake Express Train and the Lake Ridge Academy Santa’s Sleigh. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is free and open to the public.
The Ice Rink has a $12 admission fee, which includes skate rental.
The Express Train will carry visitors around Crocker. “It’s like your personal drive around Crocker to look at all the trees and lights. We have so many lights throughout the whole property,” Schmidt said, noting that parents can go on the ride with their kids. Tickets cost $4.
Until 6 p.m., Crocker will host several local dance and musical performances, including the St. Edward High School Trash Talkers. There will be a variety of vendors lined up from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. throughout Crocker Park Blvd.
At 7 p.m., a cast of holiday characters will take the stage to perform an hour-long Grinchmas show. This show is being put on by Spectacular Party Entertainment, Schmidt said.
The Grinchmas portion of the show features the Grinch, Cindy Lou-Who, Martha May-Who and the Mayor of Whoville, she said. This is followed by a 30-minute Frozen performance which will feature Elsa, Anna, Hans, Kristoff, Buddy the Elf and Jovie.
At 8 p.m., the characters will help welcome in Santa and light the tree, which will “dance” with a light show timed to the holiday songs playing in the Center Circle.
Throughout the day, there will be a lineup of food trucks parked throughout Crocker Park. These include Fired Up Tacos, CLE Cookie Dough Co., Swenson’s, King Tut Street Food, Samurai Dynasty, Smoky Sweet Soul and Zuzu’s Chocolates.
Crocker’s 50-foot tree features 6,000 lights dispersed throughout its 705 individual branches, said Crocker’s Director of Operations Greg Maloney. Eleven-thousand individual pixels form the lights. The tree requires six people to assemble. Maloney has had a part in setting up the tree for around 10 years.
Those who can’t attend the Nov. 19 Tree Lighting and Grinchmas performance are welcome to attend any of the Mini Shows and Meet & Greets that will be hosted at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Sunday on the East Park Stage, which is located between The Cheesecake Factory and Wild Mango. These will be held through Dec. 18 and are free and open to the public.
“It’s almost like a minute of the [Grinchmas] show that will occur at Tree Lighting, but kind of like a smaller preview,” said Schmidt. “If you miss it on Tree Lighting night, don’t worry, because you can catch a portion of it.”
After the shows, attendees are welcome to meet with the characters and get photos for free.
Schmidt noted that the only time to catch the whole Grinchmas performance is at the Tree Lighting ceremony. Outside of the performance times, the Grinch’s red throne will be available for daily photo ops.
Every evening until Jan. 2, the 50-foot Christmas tree will light up in sync with the beats of the holiday music that will be playing from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The tree will stay lit until 10:00 p.m.
For more information on all the holiday events Crocker Park has to offer, visit www.crockerpark.com/treelighting and scroll down to the “You may also like…” section.
Other holiday fun at Crocker Park includes:
Run Santa Run 5K
The annual Run Santa Run 5K will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Dec. 18 at Market Square, 239 Market Street. All registered participants will receive a Santa theme event shirt, a Santa hat, Santa bag, Santa sunglasses, B-tag chip timing and a finisher medal. Runners are also encouraged to dress in fun, festive attire. After the race competitors can enjoy a delicious brunch starting at 10 a.m. at Leo’s Italian Social and Burntwood Tavern. Participants will receive a complimentary cold beer or Mimosa with purchase by showing their race bib. Early packet pick-up to be announced. Register at runsanta5k.com.
Photos with Santa
Photos with Santa are taking place at Crocker Park from Saturday to Dec. 24 at 172 Crocker Park Blvd. Animal companions are welcome to get pictures with the jolly old elf from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. Eric Mull Photography will be on hand offering deals on a range of professional photo packages, including digital and print options.
Crocker’s Holiday Express train will be in operation from Sunday to Dec. 24, with onboarding at 172 Crocker Park Blvd. The train travels through East and West Parks for a five- to seven-minute ride. Cost to ride is $4 per person and cash, credit and debit are all accepted. Everyone is welcome to ride. Children 42” and below or under 4 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Children 2 years or younger ride for free. No smoking, alcohol or pets permitted on the train. In cases of severe weather, management may suspend train rides.
Crocker Park is hosting free photo-ops in Santa’s Sleigh between Saturday and Dec. 24 inside Santa’s Village at 172 Crocker Park Blvd. Stickers on the ground and photo spot signs will indicate the best place to stand to get the perfect picture. Guests must bring their own photo-taking equiptment.
Ice Skating Rink
Crocker Park’s outdoor Ice-Skating Rink opens Nov. 19 through Feb. 20. The rink is located in Union Square in front of Regal Cinemas, 186 Union St. The Ice-Skating rink features real ice. Cost to participate is $12 Per Person and includes skate rentals. For private rentals and party inquiries, call 440-268-2800.
The West Park area in Crocker will transform into a winter wonderland complete with a lit archway, real pine trees and special snowflake sculptures from Nov. 19 to Jan. 30. The Snowflake Garden is located between Crepes in the City and Barroco, 229 Crocker Park Blvd. It’s the perfect place to take a walk in the crisp winter air, enjoy the beauty of the Christmas season and snap a few pictures with friends and family.
Santa’s Village & Holiday Market
Step inside Santa’s Village & Holiday Market between Nov. 19 and Dec. 24 at 172 Crocker Park Blvd. The location will feature the best of Christmas in one magical place. In Santa’s Village & Holiday Market, guests can get photos with Santa, shop the Holiday Market Pop-Up Shops, take pictures on Santa’s sleigh, purchase customized PolarX Ornaments & Gifts and board the Express Train. The Holiday market will feature unique, one-of-a-kind gifts and several small and local business vendors.
Contact this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-871-5797.