Santa to visit Winter Wonderland
- Beginning today, Franklin Park north of downtown will double as Winter Wonderland — the Maryville headquarters of a very special Christmas guest.
Beginning today, Franklin Park north of downtown will double as Winter Wonderland — the Maryville headquarters of a very special Christmas guest.
That's right, the jolly man himself, Santa Claus, will be making the first of five Friday evening appearances at the park from 6 to 8 o'clock.
Santa's busy schedule this time of year has him running all over the globe to get Christmas wishes from youngsters.
But reports indicate he's set aside plenty of time for Maryville, and parents are welcome to bring cameras and take pictures of their children with St. Nick.
Hot chocolate donated by Hy-Vee and popcorn supplied by The Hangar will be provided on all five Santa nights.
Area Girl Scouts took over decorating the park at Seventh and Main last year. Winter Wonderland is now complete with lights, reindeer, carolers, snowmen and, of course, Santa's House.
"We thought it would be a great service project for the Scouts," troop leader and organizer Linda Christiansen said. "They really enjoy giving back to the community."
More than 25 Girl Scout troops in Nodaway, Holt and Atchison counties took part in the decoration project. Fourteen troops in Nodaway County donated new strings of lights.
The girls split up in teams and took turns setting up the decorations, a task that took more than 30 hours.
Scouts faced a minor setback last year after someone stole a few of the reindeer. But a Christmas miracle happened when Bob Bush and his wife crafted replacements.
Winter Wonderland at Franklin Park has been a tradition in Maryville more than 20 years, and last year was not the first case of theft or vandalism.
The decorations were formerly set up by Carol Jean and Harold Osborn, who came up missing a 7-foot snowman in 2008. Similar thefts occur almost annually.
But you can't steal Christmas spirit, and the Scouts say they plan to continue the tradition.
Once Santa is done making his Maryville rounds, all the Scouts who helped out with the park plan to get together for a final celebration as they await his final stop on Christmas.