It was a clear wintery day as Santa was preparing to come to the 8th annual Reindeer Lane to see over 300 children in Vegreville on Saturday, December 7. This year, the elves prepared over 1500 craft items for children to choose for their family members. There were over 700 attendees and over 40 youth volunteers helping in Reindeer Lane and serving hot chocolate and cookies throughout the afternoon. Entrance to the event was by donation to the Vegreville Food Bank.

Starting at 11:55 am, Don Harfield of Perogies and Jam welcomed everyone to this year’s Reindeer Lane and Pre-School Concert. Children and their families came to the Vegreville Social Centre for an afternoon to visit with Santa, to shop in Reindeer Lane, and listen and watch local musicians performing Christmas music.

Perogies and Jam emcee Don Harfield welcomed country music singer Darlene Thibault to the stage accompanied by Randy Kereliuk on acoustic guitar and Rob Hughes on drums. Darlene started off the entertainment with familiar Christmas songs including “Winter Wonderland”, “White Christmas”, “Silver Bells”, “Jingle Bells” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. Darlene concluded this first set with “Feliz Navidad”. 

At 12:30, pre-school teacher Brittanie Boyd and her assistants Tammy Iftody and Amber Gregg led their first group of four-year olds onto the stage. The pre-schoolers jingled their bells and sang “Jingle Bells”, “Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star”, and danced and sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Cameras and smartphones filled the air to capture this moment with pictures and videos of their children on stage to a delighted audience.

Debbie Fedoruk and her singers then came on stage to sing a variety of Christmas songs accompanied by Debbie on acoustic piano. Ken Timanson sang “Sleigh Ride” and “Mary Had a Baby”; Jillian Varela sang “Over the River and Through the Woods” followed by “A-Rockin’ All Night”. Calvin Malabanan played piano and sang “Blue Christmas” followed by “Caroling, Caroling”. Chelsea Malabanan sang “Mary, Did You Know” and Jessica Clough sang “All I Want for Christmas”. Jessica Clough teamed up with Debbie Fedoruk for a duet “The Little Drummer Boy and Peace on Earth” followed by Tristan Neil singing “White Christmas”. Debbie Fedoruk concluded the set with “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Silver Bells”. 

At 1:30 pm, Brittanie Boyd and her assistants led their second group of four-year olds onto the stage. The pre-schoolers loved jingling their bells and singing “Jingle Bells”, “Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star”, and danced as they sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Again, cameras and smartphones were held up high to capture this moment with pictures and videos of their children on stage.

Megan Hoyteniuk and her sister Nora came to the stage and Nora played “Ukrainian Bell Carol” on the piano. Megan then sang ”Under the Christmas Tree” by Kelly Clarkson, followed by “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and concluded her set with “Holly Jolly Christmas”.  

Randy Kereliuk on acoustic guitar along with Rob Hughes on drums, performed a medley of country Christmas songs including “It’s an Alberta Christmas Morning” by Gord Bamford, “Winter Star” by Johnny Reid, and another Johnny Reid song “It All Started with a Child”. Randy concluded his set with “Strange Way to Save the World” by 4Him and the “Marvellous Toy”. 

At 2:30 pm, Brittanie Boyd and her assistants led their group of three-year olds onto the stage. The pre-schoolers again jingled their bells and sang “Jingle Bells”, “Twinkle Twinkle Christmas Star”, and danced as they sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Parents and Grandparents captured this moment with pictures and videos of their loved ones on stage.

The afternoon ended about 2:50 pm as happy families gathered their children after a fun enjoyable time of seeing Santa and pre-Christmas shopping.

The idea of the Reindeer Lane gift shop started in 2012 by the Vegreville & Area Parent Link Centre and the Town of Vegreville & District FCSS (Family Community Social Services) being held at the Centennial Library. The Reindeer Lane gift shop is the only place in Vegreville where young children can see Santa and go shopping secretly for their parents and siblings at a modest cost. It was so popular that in the second year, a program was developed to spread out the time for the children to all see Santa and go shopping. The program included groups of three- and four-year olds singing in front of their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters. Entertainment was added to keep families entertained as the children went shopping. Perogies and Jam was invited to contribute to this event in year three by providing the entertainers and the sound system. The venue moved to the Social Centre in the 4th year to accommodate the growth in its popularity where it has continued ever since. 

It’s all about the children at this annual event sponsored by Flaman Rentals and hosted by the Parent Link Center, Community Association for Lasting Success, the Preschool Association, the Child Development Coalition, the Vegreville Association for Living in Dignity, and the Town of Vegreville & District FCSS.

Perogies and Jam thanks the many community volunteers that make this the most attended children’s event of the year and to the Town of Vegreville for providing the Social Centre for the event. We also thank the many local musicians performing today and Rob Hughes for the photography.

We wish you all a merry Christmas!

Photos by Rob Hughes