WALLINGFORD – Children had the opportunity to tell Santa Claus their Christmas wishes during the town’s annual Seasons of Celebrations event on Saturday.
The children were ushered into the lobby of Town Hall by elves and toy soldiers, including Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., who sounded his bugle to welcome each guest.
“As official representatives of the North Pole, it’s important for us to ask, do you read?” the mayor asked one young child. Kids who read, he explained, can learn all about Santa Claus.
After visiting Santa, revelers joined Rudolph and Frostie in a parade to Johanna Fishbein Park, where the town Christmas tree was lit. Carolers then performed.
“This has so much to offer,” said Dallas Wells, of Wallingford, as his father and uncle roasted chestnuts to hand out before the parade. “Who can go wrong with hearing Christmas music and having chestnuts?”
Popcorn and hot chocolate were also given out. Families could also get bags of oats covered in glitter, to attract reindeer on Christmas Eve.
“We had snowball fights, we had fun,” said Gary Costa, of Burlington, an ice sculptor from Ice Matters in Cheshire. Over the course of a few hours, he whittled a block of ice into the snowman Olaf, from the 2013 movie Frozen.
As he works he likes to play with the kids, spraying them with the snow coming off his chainsaw or throwing snowballs at them, which a few threw right back.
Families piled into the two horse-drawn carriages circling South Main Street, which was closed between Center Street and Prince Street. They also enjoyed a train circling Webster Bank, across from Town Hall.
“He’ll ride that five or six times,” said Kathleen Kaliscak, who grew up in Wallingford and now lives in Hamden, about her 3-year-old son’s love of the train. She said the celebration, and its free activities, was a welcome break from the emphasis on shopping.
As she spoke, her son joined the children feeding hay to goats, alpacas, sheep and a mule from Circle K Farm in Cheshire.
“He loves the petting zoo,” she said.
Kacey Mason, of Wallingford, was surprised her three children and their friend weren’t scared of the animals, as they usually are.
“I think the goats have been their favorites,” she said. “It’s a great event to come to. The kids have fun, it gets you into the holiday spirit. I love having the music in the background, it makes you feel ready for Christmas to come.
“These are the things they’re going to look back on and remember,” she added.