Santa to Visit GLSM

ST. MARYS — Campers at Grand Lake St. Marys today will get a dose of the holidays.

The annual Christmas in July weekend, which started Friday, wraps up today with a slew of activities for campers. Today’s event kicks off with Santa arriving at 10 a.m. to pass out treats to children.

“The whole day is themed around Christmas,” Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller told The Evening Leader.

Starting at 1 p.m. the park’s naturalist will work with children on making Christmas stockings. At 2:30 p.m., children will make snowflakes; at 3:30 p.m., they will make ornaments; at 4:30 p.m., they will make snowmen; at 5:30 p.m., there will be a coloring contest and at 6:30 p.m., there will be a cookie decorating contest.

“At 8:30 p.m., we will have our campsite judging,” Miller said. “We encourage the campers to decorate their sites in a Christmas theme and the winner will be announced at 9 p.m. Saturday. Saturday night, we will have the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.’”

Miller said theme weekends often help drive traffic to the campgrounds during lull points in the summer. This weekend, Miller said the park has 40 reservations, but he anticipated some walk-in traffic.

“Some people really enjoy the theme weekends,” Miller said. “It can increase visitation for the weekend and that’s the biggest part for us — just increasing visitation. Grand Lake St. Marys needs to get people out here and acquainted with camping. I think we have one of the cleanest campgrounds in the area. Our volunteers really take great pride in keeping it clean.”

Forecasts for a heat wave also could impact attendance, Miller noted.

“It does here right now because of the water quality issues as far as the heat goes,” Miller said. “I think if people could get in the water and cool off, I think we would be OK, but that’s hurting us now. You go where it’s hot and some people can withstand it.”

Officials are in the process of planning another theme weekend for August.

“Aug. 5-7 will be All About the Kids weekend,” Miller said. “We will have games, inflatables for the kids and Saturday will be a day for kids to have fun. We thought it would be a good things to try to get visitors in August and sort of a neat gesture before school starts.”