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Santa’s Polar Party sees record turnout

By Staff | Dec 15, 2017

Barb Matlock helps Stella King, 3, of Ranson, decorate her Christmas cookie as part of the events at Santa's Polar Party. (Toni Milbourne/Chronicle)

Before Santa even arrived at the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Polar Party, more than 230 children had pre-registered to greet him and share some fun. This was the largest number in the three-year history of the Polar Party, which replaced a more relaxed Lunch with Santa event in previous years.

“We had over 50 register in the four hours prior to the party,” said Becki Zaglifa, public relations and programming coordinator for the parks system.

“This program has grown consistently year to year, and this is definitely our largest event,” she said.

Children were excited to see Santa arrive, along with Mrs. Claus and some other friends including the Grinch, as members of Bakerton Fire Department escorted the old elf to the Jefferson County Community Center at Sam Michael’s Park. Santa then stationed himself, along with the missus, for photos with all the children.

While waiting, others enjoyed playing on the moon bounce and slide as well as taking part in a variety of activities that made the community center seem more like Santa’s workshop. Children could decorate cookies and make baggies full of reindeer food to take home for Christmas Eve.

Another draw to this year’s Polar Party was the distribution of Lego construction kits in the designated Santa’s Workshop area. Children could choose from one of four designs to create with the legos: a reindeer, a wreath, a Santa or a Christmas tree. The stop was a popular one with the attendees as they made their way around the gymnasium.

While some children were playing, some building and some being creative with cookies, still other kids and adults took time to write a letter to Santa for his perusal when he returned to the North Pole. A special Santa’s Mailbox was on hand to collect the letters and to ensure their timely delivery.

Ending the event was a showing of Mickey’s Christmas Carol and other Disney holiday favorites on the department’s blow up movie screen. Children settled down in the gymnasium to enjoy popcorn and one of the season’s most-loved films.

Zaglifa said planning the event has become a little easier – at least until the numbers creeped closer to the 300 mark.

“We had 300 lego kits on hand. When our registration went over 200, we began to hope we didn’t go too much closer.”

It’s never possible to totally plan numbers because those who come to the door without pre-registering are always welcome. One of the goals of the Parks and Recreation department is to provide quality programming to all members of the community. They provide several all-inclusive family events throughout the year, including Santa’s Polar Party.