The Ohio Statehouse will ring in the holidays with its annual tree lighting Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The Ohio Statehouse will ring in the holidays with its annual tree lighting Tuesday, Dec. 1.

The festivities herald the start of the holiday season Downtown, said Luke Stedke, deputy director of communications and marketing for the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board. Many state employees and Downtown workers attend with their families each year, Stedke said.

"It's an annual tradition," he said of the event, which draws modern dignitaries and costumed historical characters. Stedke encouraged families from all over central Ohio to attend the event, which is held indoors. The tree lighting and its accompanying activities also are a great way to introduce children to the Statehouse and the work that happens there.

"Any time you can let them know what happens in this building, it helps with their education," he said. "You're starting the fire - getting them intrigued about government."

The event also promises plenty of fun, Stedke said. Families can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy refreshments and listen to special performances by area choirs, including a children's choir from Annehurst Elementary School in Westerville and the local chapter of the Sweet Adelines.

Various state agencies will offer crafts and activities for children. The Columbus Metropolitan Library and ballet dancers from The Ohio State University also will provide kids' entertainment.