Alea Duran, 7, left, and cousin Breanna Ginther, 1, meet Santa Claus during Saturday afternoon’s Christmas for Kids event at Wyman Museum. The festive event included crafts, music and other holiday-themed family activities.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Alea Duran, 7, left, and cousin Breanna Ginther, 1, meet Santa Claus during Saturday afternoon’s Christmas for Kids event at Wyman Museum. The festive event included crafts, music and other holiday-themed family activities.

Wyman Museum’s holiday event draws a crowd

A snowfall shortage isn’t something Northwest Colorado residents are familiar with around the Christmas season.

But, the precipitation deficiency wasn’t enough to dampen spirits Saturday at Wyman Museum.

The museum provided yuletide cheer for local children and their families with the Christmas for Kids event. People flooded the museum grounds inside and out during the event.

Recent sunny weather provided less snow and prevented organizers from offering sleigh rides across the landscape. However, visitors were still able to take a ride of another kind, as horses were hitched up to wagons.

“I think people were still happy with those rides,” organizer Nicky Boulger said. “Every year when we do the museum tour, it’s always snowy, so it was nice not to have to worry about that.”

Wyman Museum was the last leg of Saturday morning’s tour of museums in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties before hosting Christmas for Kids.

Boulger said she couldn’t get an accurate count of how many people were in attendance for each event, but she estimated the later one had a crowd of at least 100.

“It’s hard to tell because people are all spread out,” she said. “We’ve got so much stuff going on here, I think we have seven different stations inside here. People are really getting into the Christmas spirit.”

Amid the various displays inside the building were numerous tables set up for young museum-goers to create personalized holiday items.

As John Bolton’s brass ensemble — made up of Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School music students specializing in horns — provided tunes like “Joy to the World” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” members of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig, the MCHS Key Club and Connections 4 Kids assisted children and their families in making stylish decorations.

Amy Whilden was among the women volunteering at the Connections 4 Kids table, assisting passersby with cutouts of snowmen, stars and other holiday shapes to be colored with markers and other add-ons.

“It’s so great to see the look on their face when they’re working on this stuff,” she said. “It’s what I love about working with kids.”

Whilden also works with children at daycare provider Sunrise Kids.

One of the more popular craft items were “Gourd-a-ments” — hollowed-out egg gourds ready for children to splash with sparkly colors.

“You give kids some glitter and paint and just let them go at it,” volunteer Mimi Chaillot said. “These things make great decorations.”

Chaillot said she and her friends, whom she referred to as The Girly Gourd Gang, have been fashioning ornaments out of all kinds of gourds for about 10 years. She and Annie Nelson helped children customize each one.

Dylan Chalmers, 11, dunked his gourd heavily in red glitter to match his Nebraska Cornhuskers sweatshirt. The gourd and the shirt each got a few dabs of silver, as well.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Chalmers said. “My brothers wanted to come here today to meet Santa, and I wanted to come hang out outside, so it’s been a good time.”

A number of families lined up to see Santa Claus, who had his traditional sleigh hooked up to an untraditional animal: Jack the stuffed buffalo, a regular exhibit at the museum.

“We’re calling him Randolph today,” Boulger said. “He’s like the buffalo version of Rudolph.”

Though she didn’t sit on Santa’s lap herself, Liz Ginther was excited to get a picture of her 1-year-old daughter, Breanna, with the holiday icon.

“I think she was a little scared, but she’ll probably be more used to him next year,” she said.

Breanna’s 7-year-old cousin, Alea Duran, was a little more confident when meeting Santa.

“I told him I wanted my own real, live Smurf,” Duran said with a grin.

Ginther said she has attended Christmas for Kids regularly every year with her family members.

“It’s just such a great event for the community,” she said.

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