The holiday spirit is apparent from the entrance of Prairie Hills Mall. Fluffy white snow coated the inside of the mall that gave an appearance of a winter wonderland minus the pesky cold wind.
Saturday, Dec. 7, past the hallway entrance, distant caroling and social chatter from children could be heard; ironically the inaugural Santa, S'mores and Bedtime Snores event was very lively with its surprising large number of attendees.
“Straight from the beginning there was a big rush of people and it didn't start to slow down until the door prizes announcement,” said. Mel Dimeo a volunteer from Starboard helping at the craft center.
From holiday cards and ornament decorating to s’mores and popcorn eating; there was fun for all the kids to experience.
“It's been a lot of fun, the kids are enjoying making the little presents for their parents and is a cool little community event to bring people together,” said Krystal Neyssen, a parent sitting with her young daughter and friend working on their crafts. “We came from the parade and have been having a good time with all the kids activities to do.”
The s’mores were a big hit that offered a unique twist. Kids could choose between regular chocolate or having a Reese's peanut butter cup to be inside their s’more.
“It's been fun, very busy; a lot of kids showed up and are passionate about s’mores, the crafts and seeing Santa.” said Daniel Suazo of Best Friend Mentoring. “We are trying to make it feel more like Christmas for the kids with our Christmas sweaters, moose antlers, and various hats.”
All the ingredients for the s’mores were provided by Cash Wise Foods and the popcorn was from Griffon Theaters.
Vocalist Aly Oltmanns brought kids to their feet as they danced and sang to Christmas carols along with her .
“I was really impressed with the turn-out and I am really happy that the kids sang along with me,” Oltmanns said. “It was great when the kids requested songs and they were so excited to come meet me. I am really looking forward to doing this again next year.”
Later in the evening, Santa Claus came by to entertain the kids with Christmas jokes and had them settle down to sit on mats and listen as he read them a holiday bedtime story, “The Turkey Claus.”
The night was a tremendous success — whether it was their first year or not — with large crowds, completed holiday crafts, door prizes and the kids who were hopefully ready for bed when going home.