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Annual event helps spread holiday spirit

The 27th annual Christmas in the Park, sponsored by Junior Auxiliary of McMinville, helped usher in the holiday season Tuesday evening, offering a holiday tradition for families. Rain for the second year in a row may have put a damper on attendance numbers, but those who did venture out seemed to have a good time.
Youngsters had the opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Pioneer Pediatrics office. Homemade chili, drinks, cookies and apple cake were available for a donation benefiting the group’s Relay for Life team. 
Because of the inclement weather, Junior Auxiliary Christmas in the Park co-chairs Amy Myers and Kristin Mackie made the call to move the performing stage from the downtown park to the Farmers Market pavilion.
“So many of our performers were not comfortable singing and dancing in the rain, so at the last minute, we decided to move our stage to the market,” said Myers. “It seemed to work out well.”
Approximately 100 luminaries were lit in honor or in memory of individuals and organizations, and were placed around the stage. Emcee Ryan Moore read the names honored during a special ceremony.
Several choral groups, individuals and dancers provided entertainment throughout the night. Various activities were provided in different businesses up and down Main St., including JA’s Cider House inside Regions Bank, a craft activity at the Chamber building, story time at Magness Library, beverages and a complimentary jingle bell necklace by First National Bank and fun bounce houses provided by Homeland Community Bank, and Galligan and Newman Attorneys.
Youngsters were able to call up Santa’s elves from special phone booths made possible by Ben Lomand Telephone, and Hoover and Sons Insurance.
Balloon artist Justin Reed was definitely a hit with the making of balloon animals. Children of all ages flocked to him for the enjoyment of watching him do his art, and to enjoy the finished product.
Even during spurts of rain, Girl Scouts of Warren County collected food items for the food bank.
“Despite the weather, the event went well,” said Myers. “We appreciate everyone coming out and supporting the effort, especially our businesses, vendors and volunteers.”

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