Community comes together for Christmas kick-off event Saturday in Pratt
People came from near and far to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season at the annual Christmas in the Park on Saturday in Pratt's Lemon Park. Band music, Christmas chorales and even jazzy drumming provided a celebratory background to this annual community event that culminates in the lighting of more than 80 Christmas memorials and decorations in the park.
For Deb Goyen, who spent months in preparation along with Ron Miller and countless volunteers, working with the decorations, changing light bulbs, planning and directing set up and security, it was a satisfying occasion.
"This is just so much fun," Goyen said. "I think we had a perfect day for our Christmas in the Park. A huge thanks to so many that made that happen. There are so many to thank - Brad Swisher, Bruce and Rita Pinkall, Misty Beck and all her musicians, Kim DeClue, the vendors, our hayride drivers Gordon and Carol Stull and Trey Langford, city crew, Ron Miller and all those I missed."
Santa Claus was at his special little house, entertaining young guests and hearing all kinds of Christmas requests, while posing for special pictures. Miss Kansas 2021 Taylor Clark and Miss Kansas 2021 Outstanding Teen Gracie Hendrickson were also in attendance, enjoying the beautiful weather and festive occasion, even staying until dark when magically the lights came on kicking off the Christmas season in a magical way.
Clark, who will be competing in the Miss America Contest in two weeks, played a jazzy drum solo, much to the delight of young and old who danced nearby. She said she will be playing the same piece as part of the national competition in December.
Barrel train rides, sweet and salty snacks, Dippy's burgers and just time to relax and visit were highlights for the crowds which filled the park from 2 p.m. until dark, after which road barricades were removed and vehicles were allowed to take the mile-long drive through Lemon Park to see the thousands of colorful Christmas lights and unique displays.
Additional Christmas lights are found in nearby Sixth Street Park where the Twelve Days of Christmas are in order from south to north. All Christmas light attractions are free and open to the public, now through the first week of January 2022.
A special map detailed the displays and memorials may be found in the November 24,2021 issue of The Pratt Tribune on page 9A and is also accessible here.