INDIAN LAKE, Ohio (WDTN) — Most people think of Indian Lake as a summer destination, but for the people who live there, Christmastime is just as spectacular.

“We’re building on something that people already looked forward to,” said Julie Schrader, resident and chair of the Sandy Beach Bridge Committee.

For the last 40 or 50 years, a Christmas tree has been lit every holiday season atop the Sandy Beach Bridge.

“It was a tradition that once you saw the tree go up and lit that it was Christmastime at the lake,” Schrader said.

The bridge eventually fell into disrepair, but a six-year fundraising effort made way for its restoration in 2014. Then three years later, the bridge committee decided to make the tree lighting an annual event.

“It really brings unity to our community,” Schrader said. “Indian Lake is made up of three different villages and everyone comes together and celebrates the season.”

The high school choir performs, a local pastor speaks, there are hot drinks and the iconic Indian Lake donut shop stays open late.

You might even catch a glimpse of a celebrity.

“We thought it would be really cool if during the event, Santa Claus could come in on a boat or a wave-runner,” Schrader said.

The crowd size has tripled since the first year, and now, it’s something everyone here at Indian Lake looks forward to each December.

“Having this tradition be recognized by so many people, it really is heartwarming,” Schrader said.

The lighting takes place on the first Sunday of December each year.

For 2022, it will be at 6:30 pm, Sunday, December 4th. Santa will make his appearance around 7 pm.

Schrader says there’s plenty of parking and she wants everyone to come out and see that Indian Lake isn’t just a summer destination.