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Morrow starts 'Christmas in the Park' tradition

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

A major effort has been made to create an enduring Christmas tradition in Morrow, including importing snow from Florida and purchasing a "singing tree."

On Saturday, Dec. 1, from 2 to 8 p.m., the Morrow Business and Tourism Association and the city will host "Christmas in the Park," for the first time.

The event, which will take place in Milton Daniel Park behind Morrow City Hall, will feature walk-through vignettes for shopping, a trackless train to shuttle visitors around the park, and the lighting of a 40-foot-tall Christmas.

Mike Twomey, president and executive director of the MBTA, said the event is expected to attract 3,000 patrons. Choirs from twelve churches in Clayton County are scheduled to perform throughout the day, and a variety of crafts and baked goods will be on sale.

"This is going to be quite an event," said Twomey. "We are wanting to create a tradition where everyone is welcome ... and there is a lot to do for everyone."

Twomey said one of the unique features of the event will be the "singing tree," a 27-foot stage shaped liked a Christmas tree, on which the choirs will perform. He said that only a handful of cities and churches across the country use singing trees in their Christmas celebrations.

"I wanted people that didn't have a church home to see one of these things in action," said Twomey. "The singing tree is really cool ... 45 people can fit inside."

In addition to the tree, there will be a petting zoo. "We're also bringing in real snow for the kids to play in," said Twomey. The snow comes from "an ice company in south Georgia and their water source is Florida. This doesn't use any Georgia water."

Morrow City Manager John Lampl said the event has a price tag of $30,000 -- about five or six times the cost most cities spend on their Christmas celebrations. However, he said the city is putting in the ground work for future Christmas celebrations at Olde Morrow near Southlake Mall, once the project is completed.

"It will pay for itself over the next five or six years," said Lampl.

Lampl hoped that children who come to the event would enjoy the snow. "It's basically like a giant snow cone,"he said. "It gives the children a chance to sled down the hill a little bit. Hopefully they won't throw too many snowballs."