BY CAROL HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — HOOPESTON — Christmas is a magical time of the year for children ... and for many adults who remember many past Christmases of their own.
The Magic of Christmas, sponsored by the Hoopeston Chamber of Commerce, not only brought a visit with Santa for Hoopeston area children Saturday but included a a free Magic Express bus ride to the Christmas Place at McFerren Park’s Civic Center to await his arrival.
The magic began at the Methodist Church Station in downtown Hoopeston. The Station Master handed special tickets to each child to board the Magic Express with their parents. Santa’s conductors punched each ticket as the Express was boarded and led the passengers in Christmas carols during the trip.
The pajama-clad children were entertained before, during and after Santa’s arrival at several craft tables including a fingerprint candy cane Christmas tree ornament, free hot chocolate for the children at the hot chocolate bar, a food court filled with pizza and drinks, letters to Santa, face painting, a free movie and a visit with Mrs. Claus whose arrival was an unexpected treat for many children.
Santa finally arrived on the Hoopeston Fire Department truck and was warmly greeted by the children and adults. As Santa settled himself into a comfortable chair, children of all sizes lined up to discuss what they wanted for Christmas this year.
The final Magic Express ride, however, left at 8 p.m. for the return trip to Methodist Church Station to end The Magic of Christmas evening.
Several area businesses, organizations and the community district school system joined the Hoopeston Chamber of Commerce to present The Magic of Christmas to the community. It was estimated that over 200 children and parents took part in the community event.
“This was a great thing you did for the community,” one parent said.