“We are so excited about once again sharing the love of Jesus to the community at Christmas time,” said Bryan Davis.” We had an amazing first weekend and we know the attendance will get even bigger as we get closer to Christmas.”
Bryan Davis said there are many new scenes and additional lights added to the caves. He expressed appreciation to the sponsors and volunteers who have helped make this season of the Christmas Cave possible.
The cave opened earlier this month and runs for 10 nights/5 weekends with their opening weekend already past.
“We had 3,761 people come through the first two nights,” said Lori Davis. “That is right on track compared to the 2018 Black Friday weekend.”
Lori Davis estimated 80% of those visitors had traveled two hours or more to experience it. Information and suggestions on the do’s and don’ts can be found at whitegravelmines.com or visit the Facebook page.
Organizers suggest wearing an older pair of comfortable shoes for walking and to dress according to the weather for the walk; from the parking lot to the cave for the adventure. The caves are dry and always warmer than the outside temperature. The Christmas Cave is open Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 from 4:00-10 p.m.
Free admission is offered so that all may go. However, a $1 donation per person is graciously appreciated to continue improvements for this huge event.
According to the White Gravel Mines Facebook page, the administrators state, “We are NOT handicap accessible. This is a gravel mine with hills to the entrance. We cannot change this. We will offer special handicap hours so we can drive visitors through to experience the beauty Dec. 7 from 12-3 p.m. only.”
Lori Davis said on the special handicap date, the volunteers use ATVs, golf carts and other off-road vehicles to take people through the cave. They also have trailers to haul wheelchairs during those limited hours.
“We see around 33,000 visitors each year,” said Mindy Martin, owner of White Gravel Mines. “Don’t miss this Christmas attraction, you’ve gotta see it to believe it!”
The White Gravel Mines Facebook page description says, “Be captivated by our Christmas light displays and the indoor scenes retelling of the birth of the Savior inside the White Gravel Mines. Upon entry, you’ll go back in time to Bethlehem and walk through all the life-sized scenes surrounding the wonderful night that proclaimed, “Joy to the World!” The passageways of the Mines are vast and remarkable and lit with vibrant colors highlighting the locally handcrafted scenes.”
The path through the cave has 17 displays surrounding the Christmas story, three separate nativity scenes, two fun halls of UV lighting, tons of Christmas lights, underground gift shop with commemorative items, outdoor professional snack vendors, and enjoy Grammy Janny’s World Famous Hot Chocolate (and cookies) inside the cave.
“Jan Martin’s great-granddaughter, Lainee Smith, coined it as Grammy Janny’s and it has stuck,” according to Tom Martin, Jan Martin’s son.
In addition to the expansion of lights and scenes, Tom Martin said, “We invited local churches to adopt a tree and personalize it.” He said it really enriched the ornaments and decorations as they added their own touch. The adopted trees, each one with the name of the sponsor, are identified by a sign located near each one.
Many improvements were made on the outside of the caves as well. Permanent lighting in the parking lot was installed by the Power Line Mechanic class from SCCTC. Thrive Ministries from Ashland, Kentucky, helped with handrails along the hill to the entrance, the SCCTC Industrial/Constructional Electricity class upgraded the gift shop and exit area with new wiring and receptacles, and concrete was added at the exit area.
“An angel hallway is (murals) painted in UV (ultraviolet) by local artist Cindy Gibson,” said Tom Martin. “With messages of the gospel and announcing the birth of Jesus.”
The Martin’s and Davis’ said Friday nights and earlier in the season are the best times to come. They tend not to be as crowded as Saturdays. The Christmas Cave is located at the White Gravel Mines, 4007 White Gravel McDaniel Road, Minford, Ohio, 45653.
Reach Hope R. Comer (740) 353-3101 ext. 1911
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