By Samantha McDonnell
WESTFIELD - Typically Santa arrives atop a sleigh pulled by nine reindeer, but Santa did not make your typical arrival Friday evening at Moore Park. He was not being pulled by reindeer but rather arrived by farm machinery.
Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Santa kicked off Christmas in the Village in Moore Park recently. After his arrival, he greeted children along with Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde (left).
The annual three-day Christmas in the Village kicked off with the tree lighting in Moore Park and Santa arriving by tractor. When Santa was asked why he didn't travel with his reindeer, he said they are getting ready for a big job they have to do in about a month.
"We came in on a tractor because the reindeer are resting for their big trip around the world," he said. "We're feeding them lots of grain and a lot of protein."
Following the lighting of the Christmas tree, Santa posed for photos with children in the gazebo while they told him their most desired Christmas presents. Many children wanted puppies and Santa joked he would have a bag full of puppies to deliver on Christmas Eve. The YWCA offered a holiday movie, more chances to talk with Santa, refreshments and activities for children and their families.
Westfield resident Judy Greabell brought her granddaughters to the event, like other years. She said the girls enjoy the event.
"They love it. They look forward to it," she said. "It's a great thing the YWCA does."
Westfield resident Alecia Gerby experienced her first Christmas in the Village opening night. She said it was a great event and the most exciting part was to see the children interact with Santa. Marilyn Hemmer, chair for Christmas in the Village, said the weather put a damper on Friday's festivities. She said in years past hundreds of people have packed Moore Park, but since it was raining, the number of people who braved the cold was fewer than in the past. The children love Santa arriving by tractor and when he has arrived by grape picker in the past.
"The kids love the tractor. They see it coming and start screaming 'Santa,'" Hemmer said.
The events continued Saturday and Sunday. The Hall of Christmas at Eason Hall was open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa was available for visits Saturday afternoon with live music performed by Shawn Wilder. Starting at 11 a.m. free horse-drawn carriage rides left from Eason Hall.
Also on Saturday, a Victorian Tea was served at the George P. York mansion on Portage Street. From 12 to 3 p.m., on the hour, a butler greeted guests and escort them for tea and light refreshments. On Sunday, the Holly Tour, sponsored by the Westfield Women's Organization, was held.
Hemmer said the annual event is aimed to be a family friendly holiday-themed weekend.
"We try to make it a whole weekend for the family," Hemmer said.