World’s Largest Life-Size Nutcracker Display Surpasses 200 Characters, Celebrating Milestone in Dean Martin’s Birthplace

Nutcracker Storefront

Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas

Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

Five New Statues to Debut Opening Night; Season Runs Nov. 21, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO, UNITED STATES, November 16, 2023 / — The Steubenville Nutcracker Village, the world’s largest collection of life-size nutcrackers, is celebrating a milestone this holiday season, as they surpass 200 uniquely-created characters and unveil five new statues on opening night.

Located in Steubenville, Ohio, about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh, the event will run from Nov. 21, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024 and is an enchanted experience for all ages. The holiday spectacle has drawn thousands of tourists from every U.S. state and across the world annually, as they visit the Ohio Valley to enjoy a truly magical experience and to appreciate the birthplace of Christmas crooner, Dean Martin.

Each individual nutcracker in this community art project was carved by local creator Brodie Stutzman and painted by a variety of artists from the area, including Therese Nelson, whose family established and runs the village. Therese oversees the finishing touches, as volunteers decorate and accessorize the figures – bringing them to life.

This year’s newly introduced nutcrackers will be placed alongside an already stunning roster. Themes range from movie and pop culture icons to popular occupations, local universities and professional sports teams and admired area personalities, such as Dean Martin himself and the famous Rat Pack. Other fan favorites include: Mouse King, Hermey the Elf, Wizard of Oz cast, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Princess Belle, Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, Starman and five different versions of Saint Nicholas from around the world.

The town becomes a winter wonderland, with the characters spread around the business district, transforming the historic streets into a place of Christmas magic and good cheer. And some Eastern European touches are seen throughout – a nod to their family’s heritage. Fireworks will light the sky on opening night, with weekend visits from both Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus – and the family gift shop features event-themed items for remembrance.

The exhibit is free and open to the public 24 hours a day for self-guided tours, and pets are welcome but must be crowd-friendly and kept on a leash. Special events and activities are also planned on specific days, including the Advent Market, filled with local artisans and crafters, the German Gluhwein Garden, abundant with mugs of hot mulled wine, cider and beer, Polar Express Hayrides, the Library StoryWalk, the Children’s Corner and much more. Printable and digital maps can be found on the website, and all of the nutcrackers will be numbered from 1-205 for easy navigation.

The project began in 2015 by Mark and Gretchen Nelson as an effort to bring light and life to downtown to help people rediscover the area’s hidden treasures and to share their vision of revitalization. Mark, a woodworker by trade and owner of Nelson Enterprises, spearheaded the event by creating 50 life-size nutcrackers in year one, the first being “Junior” – a traditional red and gold marvel. The 10 Nelson children are also actively involved in the famed tradition, and the family has since expanded this offering by exhibiting art displays during the Easter and summer seasons as well.

“We are overjoyed that this beloved holiday tradition continues to grow year after year. This season marks a milestone for us, as we’ve surpassed 200 nutcrackers and are displaying five new characters,” said Therese Nelson, lead designer and event organizer. “This event has brought so much joy to our area for both residents and visitors alike, as we continue our efforts to revitalize downtown, all while showcasing some true Christmas magic.”

For additional information, including the daily schedule of activities and events, visit Information is also included for individuals or businesses interested in making a donation or becoming a nutcracker sponsor.

Donations are accepted online and at boxes throughout the area to keep the tradition going and to keep the nutcrackers stored and in excellent condition. All donations are tax deductible.

For a full gallery and videos:

Photo Credits: Therese Nelson

“The Nutcrackers are Coming” video:

About The Steubenville Nutcracker Village:

The Steubenville Nutcracker Village is a gift to the people of the Ohio Valley, born out of the woodshops of Nelson Enterprises of Steubenville and made possible by the Steubenville Cultural Trust. It was created in 2015 by the Nelson family to bring true holiday cheer to both residents and visitors alike, in their efforts to revitalize downtown Steubenville.


Lisa Vucelich
The Steubenville Nutcracker Village
+1 740-371-6020
[email protected]
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