By MARK KNECHT
SYRACUSE — Are you looking for a unique, fun-filled Christmas family activity to kick off the season? Chautauqua’s Old Fashioned Christmas is the answer. After Thanksgiving’s turkey stupor, on Saturday, Nov. 25, come to Oakwood Resort in Syracuse for this free, annual event. Yes, Santa will be there, and his reindeer (for petting), as well as the live nativity and horse-drawn wagon rides. And, of course, the Big Tree Lighting will take place.
The reading of the Christmas story from the Bible is one of the most popular and meaningful at the historic Oakwood Chapel. The Christmas photo booth is perfect for the annual family Christmas picture. Using our props and your phone’s camera we will take your family photo.
Watch out for characters who are roaming around, including Frosty, the Grinch, Rudolph, Buddy-the-Elf, Toy Soldier and the Gingerbread Man, all available for fun and photos with kids.
The event will be held outdoors on the grounds of Oakwood Resort, with activities starting on the stage in front of the Oakwood Inn starting at 5:30 p.m., which is earlier than previous years. Members of the Wawasee High School Choir, the Chain Gang quartet and members of the Vocal Artists of Heartland Sings will kick things off from the stage at 5:30. The Grinch will throw out green Grinch t-shirts from the stage at 6:05 p.m.
Carols will be sung around the 50 foot Christmas tree which will be lit at 6:15 p.m. following the big countdown. Then, you and your family can stroll up the lighted paths to see Santa and Mrs. Claus and take pictures with roaming characters.
Listen to an elf read “The Night Before Christmas.” Music groups will be strolling around singing carols. Get warmed up with some hot chocolate and munch on a cookie. Don’t forget to pick up some deer food to take home for Santa’s reindeer.
Stroll up the luminary-lighted path to the historic Oakwood chapel to hear the Christmas story read from the Bible. On your way to the Chapel, stop to see the live nativity. And, you’ll want to relax and enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride around the park.
New this year are games for children on the path behind the event center. These are just some of the many fun activities at the Old Fashioned Christmas celebration.
We hope for a bit of snow, but if severe weather occurs, check the Chautauqua-Wawasee website, chqw.org, or Facebook site facebook.com/ChautauquaWawasee, for information and updates.
Event sponsors include the Town of Syracuse Parks Department, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, Syracuse-Wawasee Historical Museum, Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Club, Oakwood Resort, Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber, Lakeland Youth Center, Milford Christian Church, and many local businesses who will be identified in the event program. Can’t remember all to enjoy? Pick up a map at the Chautauqua tent along with a glow necklace when you attire.