Thanksgiving Day in Columbus

  • UPDATED Sep 07, 2018
Image Source: wikimedia.commons

If you have got the family together and have a few days off work, if you need to walk off all the pie or get the family out of the house to put an end to the bickering, or if you are simply looking for something fun to do, this list is for you. Have a great week or two of thankfulness!

1. The Chinese Lantern festival

Held at the Ohio Expo Centre & State Fairgrounds, it lights up the Natural Resources Park with illuminated displays created by artisans from Zigong in Sichuan, China. Zigong artisans are famous for their skill in the ancient art of lantern making. These displays can be as high as 3 storeys when depicting a dinosaur or 200 feet long for the Chinese dragon. A parade of these glowing creations against the night sky is a surreal experience.

You can also see Chinese Handicrafts in the making at craft booths or view Chinese performances on the stage. Traditionally these acts include Martial Arts, Kicking bowls on a rolling board, Jar balancing, Juggling, and much more.

2. Holiday Lights at Columbus Commons

The Columbus Commons park literally glows with festivity during Thanksgiving. Opened for community events, the main attraction undoubtedly is the holiday lights. It features a promenade lit up with over 200,000 LED lights and a light show around the fountains that offers millions of color variations, video projections and illuminated spheres. The park features a giant Christmas tree with a riot of tasteful decorations. Children can drop off letters to Santa Claus and watch concerts and performances. The park is breathtaking in its festival finery and a great place for a night out, especially with family.

3. Columbus Turkey Trot

The ‘original’ chase Columbus turkey trot takes place on Thanksgiving Day. This family tradition has been recognized by Runner’s World Magazine as one of the country’s ‘Best Hometown Favorite’ holiday runs. Hosted by the stores on Lane Avenue, the event saw over 7600 turkeys joining in in the fun last year. Each ‘turkey’ is rewarded with a fresh pumpkin pie, a T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, chip timing and other goodie bag items. There is a 100 yards dash for children and two options for the adults, a 5 miles course, and a family friendly Walk N Talk course. The motto here is, of course, ‘Run, Eat Pie, Give Thanks and Give Back’.

4. Happy hour at Franklin Park Conservatory

There is no cover charge and parking is free! Happy hour begins at 5:30 PM and lasts till 10:00 PM, except on days of the holiday – Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. Besides the cocktail indulgence, the conservatory offers a beautifully festive ambience with holiday decorations, art installations and a Christmas tree. Entertainment is in easy supply with musical performances, and the hors d’oeuvres are guaranteed to leave one craving more.

If you are looking for some family fun, there are horse-drawn hayrides and gingerbread projects. You can build your own gingerbread house with graham crackers, frosting and candy. But hurry and get in there while supplies last.

5. Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo

Wildlights is one of Columbus’ most cherished holiday traditions. The entire park is transformed into a winter wonderland landscape of lights, with every facet lit up in LEDs except the animals themselves. The attractions offer the complete holiday experience. They are numerous, ranging from breathtaking light shows to Santa’s holiday home to a meet-and-greet with Rudolph and his friends. There are train rides, camel rides and carousels. The Zoo also follows some quirky holiday spirit traditions wherein visitors can offer donations for the needy and return win show passes and get free parking.

6. Thanksgiving Wattle

The wattle is an annual Thanksgiving Morning Run that aims to promote health and fitness. All proceeds are donated to local charities. There is a 5k course for adults with a finisher’s medal and a running kit included with registration. While the adults course is decidedly serious and intended as such, the children get a 700 yards course through which they chase a mascot or two. They get juice and cookies and a T-shirt along with medals. The Wattle also features a 100 yards adaptive events course for the specially-abled.

7. Skate your turkey off

The Allen Community ice rink hosts the turkey Skate every year on Thanksgiving. It includes various on-ice games and other activities like Turkey Bowling, Turkey Tag and, if you think you stand a chance, even a whipped cream pie eating contest! A fun-filled family event, the turkey skate is a great way to burn off those holiday calories. And to practice your ice hockey skills.

8. North Market Poultry and Game

If you do not have your bird yet, the North Market is your stop. You can get your turkey here, or if you are in luck, a turducken. Even if your bird is bought and waiting at home, you might want to stop here for some first-rate fresh produce, local herbs and vegetables. Market Blooms has an excellent collection of seasonal flowers as well which can make for great decorations.

Thanksgiving in Columbus is all about shared joy, community celebrations and good food and drink. Get the family and get ready for a festival of fun!