Sarah Deleon of Hurricane receives the Most Unique award for her husky Nevi. (Photo by Betsy Allen)
It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas at Hurricane’s Valley Park. Seasonal decorations are everywhere, and the holiday light displays, a feature since the 1990’s, have been set up around the park’s driveways and parking lots to greet visitors. To celebrate this festive time, Yuletide in the Park was held on Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3. The main event took place on Friday evening, and featured numerous fun activities for both children and adults.
Kicking off Yuletide in the Park was the Jingle Tails Pet Parade, in which festively dressed pets and their owners promenaded around the green space between the Conference Center and the Commons building. An Ugly Sweater contest was held afterwards, with the tackiest outfits winning prizes. Throughout the evening, the Hurricane Civic Chorus performed Christmas carols in front of the Conference Center, bringing holiday cheer with their songs.
It is not Christmas without a Christmas tree, and the enormous tree in the center of the green was lit as part of the festivities. The tree is in the midst of the Tree Jubilee display, which features thirty-nine Christmas trees sponsored by local businesses. Each tree has a different theme and features unique decorations. Visitors can vote for their favorite by going to Valley Park’s Facebook page and following the instructions. Winners for the People’s Choice Awards will be announced on December 30.
The Park’s Choice awards were given to 1st Place – Hampton Inn; 2nd Place – Facing Hunger Foodbank; 3rd Place – Netranom. The Yuletide Queen’s Choice Trees were 1st Place – All in Bloom/Cornerstone Realty; 2nd Place – Hampton Inn; 3rd Place – American Royal Beauties.
After the big tree was aglow with lights, Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance at the Commons building, where they arrived with much fanfare. Parents brought their children to see Santa and pose for family photographs with the Clauses.
Shortly after the tree lighting ceremony, Megan Tarbett, director of the Putnam County Library, read Christmas stories in front of the tree. Children could also participate in crafts hosted by So-Kai Kidz Clubhouse, Regional Family Resource Network, and Putnam Wellness Coalition.
On both Friday and Saturday evenings, Word of Light Community Church of Culloden hosted a live Nativity featuring both children and adults dressed in Biblical costumes.
“The Yuletide in the Park Tree Lighting went flawlessly and we were so honored to have such an incredible turnout from our community,” said Justin Williams, Park Director. “It’s always a great feeling to see those in our area enjoying these events. We would like to thank all of the businesses and organizations that sponsored a tree for our Tree Jubilee and took the time to come out and decorate. I would also like to thank Putnam Wellness for sponsoring the crafts for the children, Word of Light for an amazing production of the Live Nativity, Putnam Provisions, Mike Roach for carriage rides, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus. It was a great kickoff to the Christmas season and we encourage everyone to take advantage of our light and tree displays throughout the season.”
While the main festivities of Yuletide in the Park may be over, the light displays at Valley Park will be operating until the New Year.