All is Bright with Local Christmas Lights!

Snow is on the way this weekend, but after the roads are cleaned up, you might want to venture out to see one of our Go Weekend Picks! We’ve found 3 local winter wonderland destinations with all the trimmings!  So, bundle up, grab some hot chocolate and venture out to one or all of these following attractions:

Go Weekend Pick

woodland lights

Woodland Lights

Woodland lights, located in Centerville, Ohio is entering its 21st season, with a half mile of lights along a wooded path to enjoy! The lights reflect beautifully as you walk along the woodland pond.  Along the trail, fanciful characters and illuminated animals prepare for the holidays, while a real-life Santa Claus visits with children inside an historic log cabin decorated as a candy land.  Quoting Linda Madden, Woodland Lights Coordinator, “Woodland Lights is a place that’s magical and enchanting.  Every year we do our best to stay true to that vision.  The front area feels more like a festival with lighting and animation.  The mood at the back of the park is quieter, more pristine, and emphasizes the park’s natural beauty.”  Bonfires, hot chocolate and other refreshments are offered nightly.  Some highlights this year include more lights, a new Ferris wheel for children, more special events, and more Festival Nights when a full range of activities are offered.  For more information on tickets, hours of operation and activities, click here.

festival of lights

PNC Festival of Lights at The Cincinnati Zoo

Come experience nearly two million sparkling LED Christmas lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden this weekend!  The zoo has a variety of themed areas to walk through, from Twinkle Trail to Fairyland to Candy Cane Forest.  Enjoy these new areas along with your favorites, Mad Cap Black-Light Puppet Show, North Polar Express Train Ride, and much more.  Don’t forget to visit Santa either!  For more information on hours of operation and admission, click here.


Clifton Mill

Last, but not least, are the legendary lights of Clifton Mill, in Clifton, Ohio.  Clifton is about 30 miles east of Dayton and 40 miles southwest of Columbus in Greene County.  Clifton Mill has been celebrating the Christmas season in a very special way for over 20 years now.  There are over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges surrounding the property.  These lights have even been featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, and the display also boasts a 100 foot “waterfall” of sparkling lights.  In the evening you can even watch a magnificent synchronized lights and music show that highlights the old Covered Bridge.

Every night until the night before Christmas Eve you can see a live Santa at work in Santa’s Workshop and periodically, he will stop, check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh!  To find out more details for Clifton Mill Lights, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend, and stay warm from all of us here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge!


Featured Agent: Scott Barker and his Passion for Horses and Helping People

Our featured agent of the month, Scott Barker, has been a proven insurance advisor to his clients since 1978.  His father, Kenneth Barker, started his career in insurance in 1952 with the Catterton Agency.  Kenneth purchased the agency in 1972.  Scott began as an agent with his father after graduating college and this began his career at Barker and Barker Insurance.  A few years have gone by, and now the Agency has grown to Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency.  Scott’s commitment to his customers continues and carries over into his personal life.

Therapeutic Riding 40

One of Scott and his wife Carol’s passions is helping people and this goes hand in hand with their love for animals.  They are volunteers with the non-profit organization, Therapeutic Riding Institute or TRI for short.   Founded in 1973, TRI’s mission is to improve the lives and health of children and adults in the greater Dayton area of southwestern Ohio with special needs through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT).  TRI has a new home at Fine Line Stables in Springboro, Ohio and they are growing also.  They are working on a program for at risk youth, and a program for wounded veterans.  This new facility is allowing them the opportunity to help more people in the community with this wonderful equine therapy.  Scott decided to get involved with TRI when his career in the competitive world of Polo ended, and he wanted to continue to use his equine skills and help individuals at the same time.  His involvement with this unique organization is a testament to his compassion for people.

Scott and Carol also have some furry family member as well.  They have a great devotion for rescuing animals and giving them a loving home.  Their home is blessed with Luke, an Irish Setter they found at the Irish Setter Rescue, and Splash, and English Setter they found at Gun Dog Rescue.

Scott is also a Scottish Highland Cattle Breeder.  These cattle are distinctive in looks with their long horns and long wavy coats and produce a leaner beef than other cattle because of their thick shaggy hair.  They are quite unique looking and if you pass one standing in a field, it will probably make you look twice!

As an agent with the experience to handle all lines of personal and business insurance, Scott is prepared to take care of any insurance needs you have.  Just give us a call at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency.

Oh Dear! It’s a Deer! Stay Alert as Winter Approaches

Winter is quickly approaching, and as the temperature drops, deer are on the move and that means more collisions with vehicles.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), deer-vehicle collisions in the U.S. cause about 200 fatalities annually.  Furthermore, in a recent study of fatal animal crashes, IIHS reported that 60 percent of people killed were not wearing a seatbelt.  Drivers need to be especially watchful during this time when deer are mating and migrating from October through December.

bbck blog image

The following tips from The Cincinnati Insurance Companies website can help you avoid a collision with a deer and stay safe while on the road.

Be aware:

1.    Dawn, dusk and night are the times you are most likely to encounter deer in the roadway

2.    The annual deer breeding season, also known as the rut, occurs mainly from October through December, but also can extend into January for some southern states.

3.    Deer can be very active and unpredictable at these times while they are searching for mates.

4.    Country roads, farmland and heavily wooded areas are known for high deer populations, but it’s also not uncommon to encounter deer in suburban or urban areas.

5.    Deer are herd animals.  If you see one, more are likely to follow.

Tips that can help:

1.    Always wear your seatbelt.

2.    Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

3.    Drive at or below the speed limit when in areas with large deer populations.

4.    Be aware of Deer Crossing signs.  These signs are strategically placed in areas frequently used by deer to cross the road.

5.    Don’t swerve your vehicle to avoid hitting a deer.  This could cause you to lose control and hit another vehicle or object.

If you hit a deer:

1.    Contact the local emergency services if anyone is injured.

2.    Notify the local law enforcement agency of the accident.

3.    Report the accident to your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible.

4.    Never attempt to approach the deer.  Deer are unpredictable wild animals.  When injured, they could cause personal harm to you or run back into the roadway and cause another accident.

Even though the time for deer is here, you can utilize these great tips and avoid becoming a target of a deer collision.  We here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge wish you a healthy and safe winter.