Santa Returns to Wickham Park Dec. 13-23
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Dec. 5, 2013
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are getting ready to make their annual visit to Wickham Park in Manchester. Santa, his elves and Mrs. Claus will be at the hilltop cabin starting on Friday, Dec. 13, until Monday, Dec. 23. The weekday hours are 3 to 6 p.m. and from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is free, but in the spirit of Christmas people are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item. All of the food that is collected will be donated to the local food pantries in the name of the Friends of Wickham Park.
“It’s a way for the park to give back to our community,” said Pamela Slocum, the event coordinator. “We want to provide something that’s really about the spirit of Christmas.”
The hilltop cabin will be all decked out with Christmas decorations including a 15-foot Christmas tree. There isn’t a professional photographer on site, so bring your camera. People are also reminded to dress warmly in case they need to wait outside the cabin for this popular annual event, which is now in its 32nd year.
“It’s been around a long time, so people know it well, and now they’re bringing their own kids,” said Slocum. More than 145,000 people have visited Santa since he began making a stop at Wickham Park in 1981.
“We have Mrs. Claus serving hot cocoa; the elves are working,” said Slocum. “We just like to give back and to make it an experience where you’re not here to go shopping; it’s really just about a family memory.”
Slocum said the idea behind Santa’s workshop originated when park director Jeff Maron, “saw what was out there at the holiday season and wanted to turn it around to be a moment to share with family and friends, no commercialization, just create a memory.” In addition to visiting with Santa and telling him what you want for Christmas, you can also drop off your letters to Santa in a mailbox inside the cabin.
Abundant photo opportunities are also available. “There’s a beautiful sleigh," said Slocum. "I brought my daughter here 16 years ago, and my favorite picture [from that visit] is her and her cousin in the sleigh.”
The memories and the traditional feel of this event are the things that make it so special, said Slocum, and being in the park means there are few distractions. “Because I’m not in the middle of the mall, I’m not really being drawn into anything to get me to do something else,” he said.
For more information, call 860-528-0856 or visit www.wickhampark.org.