The temperature was enough to cause your breath to curl in wispy clouds but that didn’t stop people from bundling up and heading out to the second annual Old Fashioned Christmas to enjoy wagon rides around town and picking up a few items on the Christmas list.
According to event coordinator Lori Vierra, 500 people made an appearance at the special event in downtown Oakdale on Friday night and a healthy amount of money was raised for the Children’s Guardian House.
“It was a wonderful evening,” Vierra said. “People waited up to an hour and a half for the wagon rides but they were smiling and it was okay. Everyone was happy and it was all about the Christmas spirit.”
The wagon rides were courtesy of the Stueve family and the draft horses were a merry sight as they pulled wagon after wagon of people enjoying the simple pleasure.
California Roasters kept people supplied with hot cocoa and coffee and Valley Oak School of Dance brought out 70 dancers to put on a holiday show.
“That was probably the highlight of the evening,” Vierra said. “The families were so excited and even though it was freezing outside, the dancers went out there in their tutus and danced their little hearts out. They all looked adorable.”
The event drew not only locals but residents from neighboring communities as well.
“We’re very excited to see the horse team,” said Escalon residents Sue and Kurt Franklin, who came to watch their granddaughter dance as well as enjoy the Christmas festivities. “It’s nice to see everyone out like this.”
Brandy Durkee from Turlock, said, “I love the family atmosphere. It’s very kid-friendly. I usually go to the mall to get the kids’ picture taken with Santa but it’s only $5 here instead of $20 and with this economy, it’s nice to save a few dollars. I’m glad I came out here.”
The event coincided with the annual Christmas tree lighting at Wood Park so many people wandered over to the park to enjoy hot cider and watch the tree come alive with cheer. This year a new topper was added to the tree in the shape of a cowboy hat.
Oakdale Mayor Farrell Jackson, who gave a short address before doing the official lighting, said of the two events, “I think this is great. It’s good to see families out and enjoying the downtown.”
This year, in addition to the topper, which was hand-made by the Parks and Recreation Commission, the number of individual trees lining the sidewalk grew from 18 to 26.
“Anyone can sponsor a tree at the park,” Parks and Recreation Director Cheryl Bolin said. “Eventually, we’d like to see the entire sidewalk lined with trees.”
Anyone who would like to sponsor a tree for next year should contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 845-3571 for more information.