Despite the bitter cold, the spirit at Rimbey’s Santa Night was warm and friendly.
Cheryl Jones, one of the organizers of the Dec. 7 event, said a fairly good crowd attended the event.
“I think it was a good night. It was the coldest night we have ever had but we have lots of hardy Albertans out there.”
Jones attributed the success of Santa Night to the fact businesses and individuals in the community pitch in to help out.
“It’s really nice to see the community pull together,” she said. “There were so many people and businesses who donated food and items and lots of volunteers who helped out during the event, itself.”
This year, Santa Night had a rather unwelcome visitor, who did his best to steal attention and presents and enjoy himself in the process.
The Grinch, dressed in the appropriate attire, snuck in under the beautifully decorated Christmas tree and stole some presents.
And then he ran.
Luckily some observant children spotted the Grinch and were determined not to let him get away with such thievery.
“I had quite a workout,” said the Grinch (aka Ben Nesbitt). “It turned into a soccer match as I tried to outrun the kids.”
Nesbitt said he spent a good part of the evening running away from the kids who were determined to catch him.
“I certainly didn’t get cold, I was too busy running,” he said.
The Grinch was finally arrested by an RCMP officer from the Rimbey detachment who was alerted that the Christmas thief was being naughty and needed to be apprehended.
Meanwhile, even as the Grinch tried to steal some Christmas cheer, the spirit of the season flourished and it was business as usual on Santa Night at Pas Ka Poo Park.
Children of all ages snuggled up to Santa to tell him their Christmas wishes, Keith Kendrew and his trusty donkey continued to give rides to children and Stuart Lister and his team of horses took families on a frosty tour outside of the park.
A scavenger hunt and carol singing was also part of the evening’s festivities.
Annette Peck, who set up her Big Brothers Big Sisters booth inside the pavilion and later joined a few other hardy souls around an outdoor fire, enjoyed the evening.
“I couldn’t hardly feel my feet,” she said with a laugh, “so I came out by the fire to try and get warm. I thought it was a great night, though. So many activities planned. I was really impressed.”
Jones reminds the public the lights at Pas Ka Poo Park will be on every night throughout December until 9 p.m.