The crowd zigzagged through the east lawn of Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday evening — kids wide-eyed and waiting for their chance to see Santa and his reindeer.
The Christmas in the Park event, organized by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and made possible by donations from a multitude of local businesses, drew families together to celebrate holiday cheer.
“Here we are spreading Christmas cheer in the park,” Alaska State Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, said as he welcomed folks to the event.
The holiday gathering included carols from the Soldotna High School swing choir, cookies and cocoa, a tree-lighting ceremony, photos with Santa and his two reindeer, and a fireworks show.
Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna chamber, said the level of turnout was even greater than she had expected. Last year the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s probably one of the biggest crowds we’ve ever had,” Davis said after the tree lighting.
This was the first year the chamber has been able to have reindeer and a firework display, which Davis attributed to the donations they received from local businesses.
“The support was overwhelming,” she said.