SEVEN HILLS, Ohio – Pandemic or not, Seven Hills is ready to celebrate the holiday season.
Although many of the traditional events and gatherings were canceled because of the ongoing health emergency and the potential risk of spreading COVID-19, officials in Seven Hills and other nearby communities are finding new ways to ensure the 2020 holiday season will be memorable.
The municipal campus is decked out with banners, wreaths, lights and other decorations. Instead of gathering for holiday parties, the city organized a drive-by parade that traveled through areas of the city on Dec. 5 with Santa Claus as the guest of honor. There also were opportunities to book appointments for individual or family Zoom visits with Santa that day. This event was so popular that all time slots were booked. Mayor Anthony Biasiotta welcomed Santa into his office so he could make his calls to children throughout the city.
Later that day, the mayor and Tony Terry, community service director, invited the community to join them on Facebook for a virtual Christmas party. Their banter included thank-yous to staff members, employees and others who worked to ensure residents could enjoy a holiday community celebration.
A Christmas- and holiday-themed trivia contest was the highlight of the virtual event with prizes for the winner of each question and a grand prize. Participants were asked things like what percentage of men wait until Christmas Eve to do the majority of their holiday shopping? (33%) Within four years, when was the original “Miracle on 34th Street” movie released? (1947) Within 100 years, in what year BC did the miracle that became Hanukkah occur? (165 BC) And what was the first company to market Santa Claus in its holiday marketing? (Coca Cola) There were other questions about holiday-themed TV shows and movies.
Biasiotta and Terry also offered tidbits of community news between questions, sharing information about 2021 Home Days – scheduled for July 30-31 and Aug. 1 – and that construction of the new Meijer SuperCenter store at the former Kmart site on Broadview Road is ahead of schedule, thanks to last year’s mild winter. Originally planned for a summer 2021 opening, Biasiotta said he expects the store to open early — during Memorial Day weekend. He told residents to watch for more details. It will be Meijer’s first Cuyahoga County store.
“We have to be creative in 2020,” Terry said.
Biasiotta also thanked the community for their generosity in supporting the community’s food bank, which enables them to help needy residents during the holidays and beyond.
“We’re finding new ways to bring people together,” the mayor added.
Holiday spirit: In nearby Independence, the city planned and executed its first drive-in/drive-by holiday lighting event, complete with a fireworks display, last weekend. The event was featured on the city’s Facebook page.
Although the pandemic precludes many of the traditional in-person events, officials pivoted to find creative ways to make the season special. They also invite residents to post photos of their holiday decorations – inside and out – on the city’s Facebook page.
And residents of all ages are invited to register by Dec. 11 for holiday take-and-make craft kits. There is a suggested donation of a canned food item or $1 per craft kit. Register at independenceohio.org or call 216-524-7373. Kits can be picked up 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 14-18 at the Civic Center services desk.
Santa visits: The city of Parma Heights, in partnership with the Parma Heights Historical Society, will offer drive-by visits with Santa Claus 3-7 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Tollhouse in Greenbrier Commons, 6200 Pearl Road, Parma Heights.
Children can drop off their letter to Santa. Visit the city’s Facebook page for more information.
Also, the Parma Heights Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library is offering take-and-make crafts for children ages 4-10. Previous crafts included a pretend play pie, a pine cone turkey and a winter snow globe.
Call the library, 440-884-2313, for more information and to arrange for curbside pickup.
Deck the halls: Parma residents can get a look at the favorite holiday ornaments of City Council members, elected officials and city directors during December. The feature, 24 Days Until Christmas, began Dec. 1 on the city Facebook page.
Mayor Tim DeGeeter had the first post, sharing a photo of a Snoopy and Woodstock ornament he received in 1977 from his late mother. DeGeeter said the ornament can be found on his family’s Christmas tree every year.
Watch the Facebook page for daily updates.
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