Photo by M.J. Subiria Arauz
Clayton County Parks and Recreation’s Jake Overton (from left) and Samantha Brewer are decorating for Clayton County International Park’s “Festival of Trees and Lights.”
Inside the Nassau Building at Clayton County International Park in Jonesboro, the staff of the county’s Parks and Recreation Department tapes white sheets of paper against the wall, to give the illusion of snow inside the facility.
Samantha Brewer, program supervisor for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the decorating has been going smoothly, thus far, and the building should be ready by Nov. 28. It is being converted into a “Santa Workshop” area for children for the annual “Festival of Trees and Lights” event, which will be available next month.
Lindsey DeLong, spokesperson for the department, said there will be an opening ceremony on Dec. 2, from 6 p.m., to 9:30 p.m., at the park, located at 2300 Highway 138 S.E.
Attendees will be able to participate in a countdown, just before the Christmas lights shine throughout the park.
Those who come from 5:30 p.m., to 6 p.m., that day, will be able to enter for free, according department officials. Admission will be $7 per car, $10 per van and $20 per bus, Fridays through Sundays, DeLong said. The opening ceremony will fall on a Friday, she explained.
She said weekend prices include a light tour by vehicle and activities for children.
The activities will be located at the Santa Workshop area, which will include the opportunity to take photos with Santa Clause. There will also be arts and crafts, gingerbread-making and a cake-walk game. The cake-walk game, she said, is basically musical chairs, but the winner takes a cake home.
Participants will need “Santa bucks” to purchase most items at the festival, she said. A dollar is equivalent to a Santa buck. The bucks will be used for purchases at the workshop and gift shop, where items such as trinkets and coloring books can be found.
Proceeds earned through Santa bucks will go to the children’s shelter, Rainbow House Inc., a non-profit organization in Morrow.
Free hayrides will also be available during the weekend, she said. People can park at the Nassau Building and go to the hayride, which seats up to 10 people. “The hayride is attached to a truck, and extended on a trailer,” DeLong explained. “Bales of hay are covered with blankets, so you can sit down.”
DeLong said the festival will be available until Dec. 18, and will normally operate from 6:30 p.m., to 9 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. The cost to enter, Tuesdays through Thursdays, is $5 per car, $7 per van and $15 per bus, but that will only allow vehicles to drive through and look at the lights in the park, she said.
She said Mondays will be reserved for routine maintenance and replacement of depleted items at the Nassau Building. Staff members have already started to place lights on trees, and garland at the front entrance and middle portion of the park.
The 34 light displays have already been delivered, she said. The variety of entertaining displays showcase figures such as Santa Clause on a computer, a Noah’s Ark scene, a snow boy skiing scene, a golfing Santa and reindeer. The sizes range from 10-feet, to 20-feet long, and 3-feet, to 20-feet wide, said DeLong.
For more information about the festival, contact the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department at (770) 477-3766.