With horse drawn carriages trotting around the park and Dickensian characters strolling through the crowd, Christmas enthusiasts kicked off the holiday season this past Saturday with ‘Christmas in the Park’ at the Desloge City Park.

Sponsored every year by the Desloge Library Board, the holiday extravaganza consistently has a large turnout to see Santa, take a free ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or to make homemade Christmas decorations while sipping hot chocolate and enjoying holiday cookies.

“With the weather as warm as it is, we are having a great turnout,” said Misty Boyer, of the city library. “I think this year we should have served Kool-Aid instead of hot chocolate, but everyone seems to be having a great time.”

For the library board the yearly event has become synonymous with Christmas, but it does require a lot of planning and a lot of help.

“We have been planning this for weeks, and I think it has turned out very well,” Boyer said. “The kids really like making the Christmas decorations and cookies, but I think for the adults carriage rides have been their favorite.”

Just like it has done every year, the holiday event seems to capture the essence of Christmas with volunteers dressed in vintage clothing and the horse-drawn carriages taking families for a ride through the park.

“Everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves,” said Joseph Pickett, who was at the park with his wife Mary and their five children. “I think this was great. This really brings the community together.”

But the most important activity, at least as far as the children were concerned, was the arrival of Old Saint Nick and a chance to tell him what the really need to find under their tree on Christmas morning.

For Olivia Kelso, and her two month old daughter Eliza, Saturday was a first for many things, but particularly coming to Christmas in the Park.

“This was our first time we have come to Christmas in the Park. This is really a neat thing they do,” Kelso said. “It was also Eliza’s first experience with Santa, and she did a very good.”

The spirit of Christmas was presented at no cost to the parents. The event is a Christmas gift to the community provided by the library board.

“We are so very pleased to host an event like this,” said city administrator Dan Bryan. “Kids are enjoying the craft workshop, visiting with Santa and having hot chocolate and candy. The library has really put on a wonderful event.”

Bryan also credited the city employees for doing a great job decorating the park and getting it ready for the event.

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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