By Curt Yeomans
Local residents will be able to visit the W.H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve on Friday night to sip some hot chocolate, take a hike through the woods, and listen to music and stories during the preserve's annual Yule Log celebration.
The free-to-attend event will last from 7 p.m., to 9 p.m., at the old Huie Barn on the preserve property, which is located at 5665 Reynolds Road, in Morrow.
Preserve manager Stephanie Berens said the event has drawn an average crowd of up to 300 people in the past. She said the preserve has held the celebration for at least 20 years.
"We do this just to provide the community with an outdoor event where people can listen to outdoor music and storytelling," Berens said. "It's just a long-standing tradition."
During the first hour, there will be music performed by local musicians at the barn. Berens said attendees are being asked to bring their own mug for drinking hot chocolate. "We're trying to be environmentally friendly," she said.
At 8 p.m., the attendees will walk down a candlelit path into the woods, to a bonfire, where they will hear tales told by local storyteller, McKenzie Wren.
The event culminates with children attending the celebration racing off into the woods near the bonfire, to search for the Yule Log. It is a small cedar log wrapped in a red ribbon with a bow, Berens said. "It usually takes them, maybe, five minutes to find it," she said.
Parking is available nearby at Babb Middle School, which is located at 5500 Reynolds Road, in Forest Park, and a shuttle bus will carry people to, and from, the event, according to the preserve's web site.
For more information about the celebration, call the preserve at (770) 603-4188.