Sights and Sounds of Christmas: A Newark Event
What to See
Eight downtown churches participate in the tour: Second Presbyterian, where the tour begins; Trinity AME; Trinity Episcopal; First Presbyterian; Plymouth; St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran; First Methodist; and St. Francis De Sales. First Presbyterian Church is the oldest in Newark having begun in a log cabin on the Square.
Two costumed lamplighters lead the two tour groups. These groups separate after the performance at the Second Presbyterian Church and reunite for the finale at St. Francis De Sales. Upon entering Second Presbyterian Church for the first performance, a red or green sticker is affixed to your ticket. This will be your tour group. Lamplighters costumed in red and green period costumes with candle-lighted lamps will line up outside the church and lead their groups through the tour. For 2012 the lamplighters are Dennis Kohler and Belinda Paisley. Caroling is often heard from one or the other of the two groups as they move through the downtown route.
What to Hear
Each church features a special musical performance. The performances have been choirs, piano solos, organ solos, bell choirs, or in the case of Plymouth Church, the Hiltner Brothers. The performances are timed and coordinated with performances in the other churches so that the two groups move through the tour crossing paths many times but not coming together until the final church, St. Francis De Sales, where their adult choir presents O Holy Night and the Hallelujah Chorus. There are likely to be warm drinks and homemade cookies in the Lamay Center after the tour.
The entire tour route is lighted with luminaries. The Sights and Sounds Committee arranges with volunteers to set, light, and retrieve luminaries in the downtown areas for the tour. The local churches handle their own luminaries, and the whole tour route resembles an airport runway as it snakes through the downtown. The luminaries are kindly set out by the Boy Scouts of Troops 2, 4, 9, and 13 and by the Spencer House.
Tickets are available at all participating churches, the Chamber of Commerce, the Licking County Visitors and Convention Bureau, on the shuttle buses from the Methodist Church parking lot (at Fifth and Granville Streets) to the Second Presbyterian Church, and at the door the night of the event. Shuttle buses run from 5:00 until 5:45.
Your ticket resembles a program with pictures and vignettes about the individual churches. On the back of the program is a circle for a red or green sticker. A sticker must be placed in this circle at the Second Presbyterian Church to designate your tour group. Tickets cost $5 for adults and children over 12. The money made goes to the Licking County Food Pantry. Last year event made over $1,000 for the food pantry. This is a huge help at Christmas time.