As the frost was coming off the trees, Santa was preparing to come to the 7th annual Reindeer Lane to see over 400 children in Vegreville on Saturday, December 1. This year, the elves prepared over 1700 craft items for children to choose for their family members. There were over 800 attendees and over 50 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, Tasha Homeniuk of the Parent Link Center and Sandra Antonchuk of Flaman Rentals invited everyone to this year’s Reindeer Lane and Pre-School Concert. They welcomed children and families coming to the Vegreville Social Centre to an afternoon of visiting with Santa, shopping in Reindeer Lane and listening to an afternoon of Christmas music provided by Perogies and Jam.
Perogies and Jam emcee Don Harfield added his welcome to the audience and invited country music singer Darlene Thibault to the stage. Accompanied on her acoustic guitar, Darlene started off the entertainment with Christmas songs including Silver Bells, Jingle Bells and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Many in the audience sang along enthusiastically and showed their appreciation.
At 12:30, pre-school teacher Brittanie Boyd and her assistant Tammy Iftody led their group of 20 three-year olds onto the stage. The pre-schoolers sang Dance Like a Snow Flake and with the accompaniment of wrist bells, sang Jingle Bells. 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. Jillian Varela sang Santa Claus is Coming to Town, followed by Ken Timanson singing Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Jessica Clough and Maddi Doerksen sang a duet Lullaby on a Silent Night, followed by Tristan Neil who sang Sleigh Ride. Chelsea Malabanan then sang The Most Wonderful Time of the Year accompanied by her brother Calvin on the acoustic piano. Julia Dolejsi then sang Where Are You Christmas? Debbie Fedoruk then sang It’s a Marshmallow World and closed off the set with Rocking Around the Christmas Tree.
At 1:30 pm, Brittanie Boyd and Tammy Iftody led their first group of four-year olds onto the stage. The pre-schoolers group sang Dance Like a Snow Flake, Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas with each of them ringing their wrist bells. Again, a flurry of cameras and smartphones filled the air to capture this moment.
Megan Hoyteniuk then came on stage to sing Jingle Bell Rock, Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Mary Did You Know accompanied by Debbie Fedoruk on the acoustic piano. Megan finished off her set with Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas.
Gayle Gagne on acoustic guitar, accompanied by Carrie Withers on mandolin and Horst Wilfert on bass guitar, sang Christmas songs starting with Silver Bells and Frosty the Snowman. While Santa was visiting with children in the other room, Gayle sang Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mommy Twisting with ol’ Santa Claus. The trio finished off with Silent Night and We Wish You a Merry Little Christmas.
Once again, Tasha Homeniuk and Sandra Antonchuk came on stage and thanked everyone for coming to Reindeer Lane. Tasha was pleased to tell everyone that this event was the 7th Reindeer Lane and a little history of this very popular family event for preschool children.
At 2:30 pm, Brittanie Boyd and Tammy Iftody led another group of four-year olds onto the stage. This group also sang Dance Like a Snow Flake, Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas with each of them ringing their wrist bells. Again, a flurry of cameras and smartphones filled the air to capture this moment. So many proud parents, grandparents and families enthusiastically enjoying the pre-schoolers on stage.
The afternoon came to a close about 2:45 pm with music continuing to fill the Social Centre and happy families gathering 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, Peter Thibault on the sound system, and Rob Hughes for the photography.
We wish you all a merry Christmas!
Photography by Rob Hughes