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Getting in the spirit
28th Annual Christmas in the Park
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The weather outside was not frightful which was probably why the crowd was so delightful at Tuesday night’s 28th annual Christmas in the Park sponsored by Junior Auxiliary of McMinnville.
The annual celebration ushers in the Christmas season which began when Mayor Jimmy Haley flipped the switch to light the large Christmas tree located on The Lot.
Local entertainer Joe Harvey said he had been to Christmas in the Park many years and he thought this year had the most people he had seen downtown for the event. This year, the sky was clear and temperatures were in the 50s. Last year, the celebration was moved underneath the Farmers Market Pavilion due to rain.
“We were very happy with how Christmas in the Park turned out this year! The turnout was amazing. The weather plays a big role in the attendance and this year we couldn't have asked for a more perfect forecast. There is a ton of work that goes into planning Christmas in the Park, so it was nice to see so many people come out and enjoy the event. It was nice to see downtown so alive,” said Paige Chastain, Christmas in the Park project chair.  “Another factor to the success of this year’s event was the number of downtown businesses that participated. We had around 16 businesses that sponsored activities, stayed open late, and/or gave out refreshments. Without the help from these businesses we wouldn't be able to have such a successful event.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus were once again ushered through the crowd by the WCHS Pioneerette Dance Team who guided the couple to Pioneer Pediatrics where children had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him their wish list before smiling for a keepsake photo.
Various activities and goodies were provided in different businesses up and down Main Street, including JA’s cookie decorating inside Regions Bank, hot apple cider inside District Attorney Lisa Zavogiannis’ office, story time with Wally and Pat Bigbee and Bruce Watson at Magness Library and fun bounce houses donated by Galligan and Newman and Homeland Bank.
Girl Scout Troop 717 led the Pledge of Allegiance on stage to begin the evening while American Legion Post 173 presented the colors.
Emcee for the evening, Ryan J. Moore, read names during a special ceremony of several people honored or memorialized with luminarias. The luminarias were placed in front of the stage.
Several choral groups, individuals and dancers provided entertainment throughout the night including Kids of the Community, Paula’s Dance Academy, Pioneerettes, Emily Pennington, Star Gymnastics and Joe Harvey.
Covenant Fellowship Church provided a live nativity for guests. Little Kellan King, who turned 1 month old on Thanksgiving, was the star of the scene playing newborn baby Jesus.
Youngsters stood in line to call up Santa’s elves from special phone booths making sure their wish lists were known by the big man in charge. The phone booths were made possible by Ben Lomand Connect and Hoover and Sons Insurance.