Jingling in the park
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on December 11, 2011 1:50 AM
David Quick, front, drives the Kiwanis "Polar Express" train late Saturday afternoon.
Zyona Benton, 13 months, admires the Christmas lights Saturday at Jingle in the Park in Herman Park.
Her hands wrapped around a cup of hot cider, Bryce Edgerton peered around the dozen people standing between her and a ride on the "Polar Express."
"Are we next, Mama?" the 6-year-old said. "It's cold."
The woman standing next to her looked down.
"I hope so, baby," she said. "But we can't leave too soon, anyway. Santa isn't here yet."
"Santa's coming?" the little girl replied. "OK. We'll stay."
Dozens of Wayne County residents made their way to Herman Park Saturday for "Jingle in the Park," a holiday event that offered local families -- and particularly children -- a taste of the festivities set to unfold in the coming weeks.
Kristin Thompson came to see the lights.
"She loves the lights on the trees. Every Christmas, this girl makes me drive slow through neighborhoods and everything just to see them," her mother, Jessica, said. "I keep asking her if she wants to ride the train or listen to the carolers, but all she wants is to take picture of these trees."
But others, like J'melle Harris, had their cameras focused on something else.
"Get his picture," the 7-year-old said, before running to Frosty the Snowman's side and shouting back at his older sister, Caitlynn. "Get one with me and him."
The sights, though, were only part of the draw.
Some took a ride on Santa's sleigh -- and didn't seem to mind that, for this particular evening, it was being guided by a pickup truck instead of reindeer.
And others worked on Christmas-themed crafts -- decorating their own trees with different colored shapes.
But when the Kiwanis train is on the tracks, it always seems to steal the show.
Oliver Williams has taken his share of rides over the years.
"He loves that train," his father, Jerry, said. "So needless to say, we find ourselves out here a lot."
But until Saturday, the 8-year-old had never taken to the tracks in the dark.
"That was so awesome," he said, running to the back of the line just after he stepped out of the gate. "Can we do it again?"