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Reynolds Nature Preserve to host annual Yule Log Celebration tonight

Forest Park resident Jameyon Williams throws the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserves Yule Log on a bonfire during last years Yule Log Celebration. This years celebration will be held tonight. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Forest Park resident Jameyon Williams throws the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserves Yule Log on a bonfire during last years Yule Log Celebration. This years celebration will be held tonight. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Forest Park storyteller Barry Stewart Mann tells the story of the Yule Log during the annual Yule Log Celebration last year at the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

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Attendees at last year’s Yule Log Celebration gather around the event’s bonfire to stay warm. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

MORROW — Children will go traipsing through the darkened forest at the William H. Reynolds Memorial Nature Preserve tonight in search of a fabled piece of wood.

They will be hunting deep in the woods for the Yule Log, a small log wrapped with a big red bow. It is part of the annual Yule Log Celebration which will begin at 7 p.m. at the nature preserve, 5665 Reynolds Road, in Morrow.

As has been the case in past years, the free event will include a bonfire, ornament-making, face-painting, stories told by Forest Park storyteller Barry Stewart Mann, a musical performance by the Forest Park High School orchestra and refreshments for young and old alike.

Some portions of the event take place near the nature preserve’s barn, but attendees travel down a candlelit path to get the bonfire, where the storytelling takes place.

Last year, Mann told attendees a fictional back story for the log that goes back to England and involves disobedient children being threatened with the possibility of being carried off by “Barefoot Squinters” if they didn’t behave while decorating their village’s yule log.

The culminating portion of the decades-old holiday celebration will be the search for the Yule Log by children attending the event.

Hundreds of people attended last year, and brought blankets to sit on by the bonfire. Some even brought marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to make s’mores after the Yule Log search.

As has been the case at past Yule Log Celebrations, parking for the celebration will be at G. P. Babb Middle School, 5500 Reynolds Road, in Forest Park. A shuttle service will carry attendees between the school and the nature preserve.