Bringing the Cheer: HolidayFest brings in 2,000 people

Published 5:47 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

WEST POINT – Theodore Tranqui showed no fear Saturday afternoon as he climbed to the top of the rock-climbing inflatable at HolidayFest on the River hosted by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce on the West Point River Park.

Once he got the top, parents Phil and Candice weren’t sure how their 3-year-old was going to make it down, but with help from his sister Meghan who was there to make sure everybody was safe, made it a fun experience for everyone.

That was the theme of the day Saturday at the park as great smells were in the air from food truck vendors and plenty of unique items were scattered throughout as about 40 vendors were on-hand just in time for holiday shopping.

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Several children had a memorable experience by taking photos with Santa Claus in the afternoon hours. Not only did Kris Kringle make an appearance, but so did a special helper in an elf, along with The Grinch, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Olaf from the Disney movie Frozen. The characters were brought along by Super Shop Photography.

Santa and his friends didn’t stay in the tent taking photos all day either. At times, the characters were out shaking hands, giving out hugs and dancing with the children.

Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashley Crane said the event was a success.

“It well really well,” she said. “We were really happy about it.”

Crowds were steady throughout the morning and afternoon hours as the weather cooperated, making for a beautiful day. Crane said the chamber estimates there were about 2,000 people in attendance throughout the day.

Children had the opportunity to play laser tag, jump on inflatables, play video games and generally run around open fields while their parents were close by.

“We’re having a good time,” Derek Lankford said, who was helping his son, Bo, 3, play with one of the inflatable games. “This really gives him (Bo) something to do outside.”

Marvin Grawley and his wife Madeline traveled from Auburn to West Point Saturday with their 5-year-old Lizzy. They weren’t aware of the festival, but we’re definitely happy they stumbled upon it.

“We just came this way to grab lunch and walk around downtown, and somebody told us about this,” Marvin Grawley said. “This definitely was an unexpected surprise, but a good one.”

Crane said the arts and crafts vendors seemed to be really happy about the event afterward and were excited to see this type of activity occur annually in the region. She also said the chamber intends to bring the event back again next year.

The next chamber event will be the St. Paddy’s Day on the River on March 16. Crane said the chamber has already locked up its live entertainment for the festival. Performing will be local acts Corbin Hoats of West Point, Blane Rudd with country music, The Wilkson Brothers and country music artist Tim Dugger from Roanoke.