With temperatures barely in the double digits and a light covering of snow turning Soldotna Creek Park into a winter wonderland, hundreds of families turned out for the Annual Christmas in the Park on Dec. 3.
After some good old-fashioned caroling led by the lovely Hannah Taurianen of Nikiski and aided by karaoke screened lyrics, Sen. Peter Micciche took to the stage to introduce the guest of honor, who totally needed no introduction, St. Nicholas himself.
Children eagerly followed the pied piper of Christmas to the giant aluminum tree in the park where the Jolly Ol’ Elf raised his hands and counted down from ten and when he reached one the tree magically sprung to life illuminating thousands of led lights on the tree created for Soldotna by ConocoPhillips.
“The thank you’s for tonight started years ago and go out to those with the vision of creating a park for all people for all seasons,” Sen. Micciche told the Dispatch in an interview.
“And here we are in a Currier and Ives picture perfect setting for our third annual Christmas in the Park celebration and of course we want to thank the Chamber of Commerce staff led by Tammi who teamed up with the City of Soldotna Parks and Recreation Department along with Chamber Community Partners and sponsors like Fred Meyer, Safeway, CBC Rental, Peak Oilfield Services, HEA and ConocoPhillips for the tree. It takes a great team to make a great evening like tonight happen for our community,” said Micciche.
Following the lighting of the tree, cuddled around fire rings, families enjoyed the full length animated holiday classic the Polar Express.
On the first day of December prior to the celebration, a crew from ConocoPhillips and HEA spent a chilly morning getting the giant aluminum tree tethered to its stand in the Park.
“For the last four years no evergreen trees have been harmed in the lighting of Soldotna’s tree. We like projects like this that help the community out,” said Greg Beiser with the ConocoPhillips crew.
Once again the Soldotna Chamber championed “Unwrap Soldotna” this year to encourage shopping locally. Entrants were eligible to win $1,000 Soldotna shopping spree at any of the participating businesses in a drawing held Dec. 20 at the Chamber’s Christmas Trivia Social at Odie’s. Additionally there were weekly drawings for $25.00 gift certificates.