Clearwater's 18th Annual Winter Wonderland Successfully Concludes
The 18th Annual Winter Wonderland successfully concluded on the 22nd of December. Produced by the Clearwater Community Volunteers of the Church of Scientology, this event raises donations of food and toys to provide Christmas to underserved Pinellas County families.
- Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (1888PressRelease) January 06, 2011 - CLEARWATER: The Clearwater Community Volunteers (CCV) of the Church of Scientology successfully concluded Winter Wonderland's 18th year with more than a ton of food and toys donated to help Clearwater's Homeless Emergency Project and the Children's Home, the oldest orphanage in Tampa.
The Alpine Village, which resides each year on the corner of Drew Street and Osceola Avenue in downtown Clearwater, features nightly entertainment, pony rides, a petting zoo, photos with Santa Claus and a bouncy house.
There is no entry fee for the event, but visitors are encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items.
This year's attendance set a record high for the event, with more than 850 people attending opening night and thousands visiting in the days that followed.
In addition to the nightly visitors, CCV also welcomed special groups to attend.
"We had the Outreach Program from the Children's Home and the Safety Harbor Middle School's Special Needs Class come through," said Pam Ryan Anderson, the Chairman of CCV and the overall event director. "We open Winter Wonderland just for these kids during the day so that they cam enjoy it."
Anderson said that this year, through a kind donor, each child from Safety harbor Middle school were given Christmas presents of their own.
"The teacher told me that this is the only Christmas that some of these children will have, and it was because people in the community cared enough to donate toys that we were able to help make this happen," said Anderson.
But this was not the only magical moment during the Wonderland.
Anderson also tells of a two year old girl who was afraid to get too close to Santa, but was willing to wave at him from across the way. Anderson personally escorted the little girl and, when she got closer, the girl ran all the way to Santa and jumped in his lap.
"Her mother stood there with her mouth wide open," recounted Anderson. "She told me that she had taken her daughter to four Santa's and she wouldn't even go near them - it shows the magic of Winter Wonderland."
"The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard once said 'When children become unimportant to a society, that society has forfeited its future.' We work to make this event about children and the joy that children find in this season."
Anderson wants to specially thank the sponsors who helped make Winter Wonderland so successful this year: RPS Steel, the Sonz Family, Loop LLC, Mobile Mini, Tony Lago, DeWall Painting, Ryan Realty, Consumer Energy Solutions, Boy Scout Troop 313, Clearwater Towing, Distribution Video and Audio, Joel Anderson, Global Welding and Fabrication Services, Paris and Linda Morfopoulis, One Stoppe Shoppe, Emmett & Ali Osborne, PostcardMania and United Rentals.