Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Dec. 11 newspaper on Page A6.

McARTHUR — Saturday’s weather was far from wintry, but attendees of the Vinton County Chamber of Commerce’s 16th Annual Christmas in Downtown on Dec. 7 weren’t complaining.

Those walking through downtown McArthur had the chance to step back into time, one might say.

This year’s theme was “A Dickens of a Christmas,” a nod to Victorian-era writer Charles Dickens, and many participating businesses took advantage. Vinton County National Bank invited Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, who came with stacks of gold coins, to greet guests. Children and adults alike decorated their very own Victorian hats.

Still others opted for more holiday-centric apparel, like reindeer pajamas, Santa hats or antlers.

Many attendees started at the Vinton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to pick up their maps of participating businesses and organizations.

Dozens of vendors participated in this year’s event, offering baked goods, clothing, home decor and more. One group passed out free presents, wrapped in festive paper, to passersby.

New this year was the Sojourners Care Network Bailout fundraiser. The Wild Turkey Festival Queen’s Court, Juvenile and Probate Judge Bob Grillo and pal Randy Hoagland, Commissioners William Wellman, Ryan Cain of the Vinton County Sheriff’s Office, local pastor James Dimel, pharmacist Hayley Sowers, the Vinton County girls varsity volleyball team, village solicitor Troy Howdyshell and “celebrity guest” Martha Stewart were all “arrested” and put into “jail” (the courthouse gazebo, to be exact). Members of the community donated money to “bail” certain groups or individuals out.

Royalty from the Christmas in Downtown pageant, held Dec. 2, walked around town during the day. Many area queens and their courts were also involved in the evening’s parade. The Christmas in Downtown pageant court includes Queen Ella Clancy, First Attendant Jocelynn Suter, Second Attendant Jamie Beatty, Junior Miss Queen Georgia Todd, Junior Miss Princess Alexia Ferguson, Little Miss Queen Lilly Hurne and Little Miss Princess Felicity Leach.

Aside from various festival and pageant courts, the Christmas in Downtown parade featured local businesses and organizations, law enforcement, fire departments and snow plows decorated by Vinton County students during Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 Paint-a-Plow contest. West Elementary was the contest’s winner. SOAR also marched in the parade with their well-known pair of Tyranno-SOAR-us rex.

As is custom, Santa Claus road into town atop a fire truck as he made his way to the Vinton County Courthouse to gather children’s Christmas requests and see the ceremonial tree light up. Children were lined up out the door to give state Christmas wishes.

Another event highlight included horse-drawn wagon rides by John Hutchison. The Vinton County Middle School also hosted a Christmas craft bazaar that morning.

The evening concluded at Herbert Wescoat Memorial Library, where families could watch “A Christmas Carol.”

sdawes@vintoncourier.com; @sydneydawes_95

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