Mack Frost watches for Santa Claus from his dad Mike Frost's shoulders Thursday night shortly after the Christmas tree was lit in Soldotna.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Just to hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling to the clip-clop of a Clyde called King was enough to put the grouchiest of grinches into the Christmas spirit.
It was, indeed, lovely weather for a sleigh ride together at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Parker Park in Soldotna on Thursday. Area residents formed a deep and shivering line to get a piece of the "giddy-up" on a real-life Christmas sleigh.
C and C Stables of Soldotna provided sleigh rides, which were a popular installment. Connie Davis, the owner, drove King, the 11-year-old Clydesdale, up and down West Park Avenue pulling a red, custom-made sleigh full of people.
"My fianc, Bill Green, built the sleigh, and there is really nothing like a red sleigh," Davis said.
A sleigh ride is a unique experience. It is a ride that is both smooth and quiet.
We've been giving rides for 18 years, and this gets bigger every year. I love it because it gets people outside during the winter months when they could just be sitting around," Davis said.
The Christmas tree lighting party gave Davis a chance to test King, a horse that's new to the area.
"We just got King, he's really well-trained. He's calm and good around people," she said.
Dawn Horstman and Doug McCauley brought most of their family to the holiday event and braved the sub-freezing temperatures for a ride.
"This is what Christmas is all about. It's so nostalgic," Horstman said.
Soldotna Mayor David Carey said he felt this year's holiday was all about honoring people who serve. Carey enlisted the help of students to illustrate the mass of people who contribute.
He commended all the students who decorated the fence and said the consideration to Alaskans serving during war time was the main theme.
Lisa Parker, Soldotna City Council member, said she hoped those serving in the war received a day of peace and tranquility for Christmas.
"We have particularly focused on the service men and women in the Armed Forces. Soldotna students filled the fence with names of people who serve their country and community. The young people did a wonderful job. They all pulled together to make this display," Carey said.
Several students who helped make and hang the decorations on the fence surrounding Parker Park were there.
Kim Massy, Skyview High School student, said students decorated the previous day. She and her classmates attended the tree-lighting ceremony in support of their government teacher, "Mr." Carey.
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