Holiday cheer at the park

Everyone seems to have their own unique way of commemorating the holiday season, and Wilderness Road State Park has made it an annual tradition to showcase this individuality throughout the area with ChristmasFest, an event in which community members are encouraged to come together to celebrate the holidays.

The event kicked off last weekend at the Karlan Mansion, with individuality showcased at each corner. While the festival is full of classic kid-friendly entertainment, such as a visit from Santa himself, it is perhaps best known for its ability to display what the holiday season means to individuals in the community, as everyone is welcome to showcase their own decorations representing just that.

“We always love for people to come out and show their own trees and wreaths, because this gives everyone the opportunity to show the way they celebrate the holidays. I, for one, always have a wonderful time going around and seeing the individuality put into each of them,” said Betty Y. Smith, president of Friends of Wilderness Road State Park.

Along with the displays, the weekend featured the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree and a visit from Santa’s most trusted — and unique — elf, Tickety Tock, who shared tales from the North Pole and gave out candy to kids.

The event will continue each weekend through December 17, with new entertainment each weekend, including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Frontier Christmas at the Fort and Fun with Dr. Seuss.

For only $1, kids and adults alike are encouraged to come out and enjoy these events, along with the displays and free refreshments. A bit of friendly competition will also take place, as each visitor will vote on their favorite display, with the winner being revealed during the last weekend.

Several organizations, businesses and individuals throughout the area have decided to take full advantage of the opportunity to display their own interpretation of the season, with 40 unique displays scattered throughout the Karlan Mansion.

“This is our third year hosting the event, and our third year of wonderful. It honestly just keeps getting better and better, and I invite everyone to come out and be a part of the fun,” said Smith.