Snow Foolin’: AMR Winter Wonderland an annual holiday hit

| December 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
Chloe Hernandez and Malia Abramski, both 2, shovel snow at the 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17

Chloe Hernandez and Malia Abramski, both 2, shovel snow at the 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17


Story and photos by

Karen A. Iwamoto
Staff Writer
ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — Families dreaming of a white Christmas in Hawaii converged at the community center, here, for the annual Winter Wonderland event put together by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, or DFMWR.

Families who arrived early to FMWR's 2016 Winter Wonderland event enjoyed breakfast with Santa Dec. 17 at Aliamanu Community Center.

Families who arrived early to FMWR’s 2016 Winter Wonderland event enjoyed breakfast with Santa Dec. 17 at Aliamanu Community Center.

The fun began at 8 a.m. on Dec. 17 with Breakfast with Santa, where keiki had their pictures taken with St. Nick, the Grinch and characters from the Disney movie “Frozen,” while enjoying a hot breakfast with their families.

Afterward, they got to play games, have their face painted, decorate their own Christmas ornaments and make their own greeting cards.

A crowd gathers to watch the snow arrive at the 2017 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

A crowd gathers to watch the snow arrive at the 2017 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

Snow zone
But the big draw, as usual, was the snow.

FMWR transformed a portion of the Aliamanu Community Center’s parking lot into a snow zone where those ages 7 and up could build snowmen, snow castles or just enjoy stomping through it while their parents and younger siblings watched from the sidelines.

For some of the youngest children in attendance, it would be their first experience with snow. Even parents for whom it was nothing new were nevertheless enthusiastic to share in their kids’ excitement.

FMWR volunteers spread out the snow at the 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

FMWR volunteers spread out the snow at the 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

Spc. Justin Donnellan of the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, said he grew up in Virginia and remembers holidays filled with lots of snow.

“I remember falling down and rolling around in the snow,” he said, “and gathering all the snow to make a really, really big snowmen. I think it’s awesome that my son – he’s 5 – gets to play in the snow, and my daughter, she’s only 17 months old, and this is the first time she’s seen snow.”

Families crowded the snow zone area of FMWR's 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

Families crowded the snow zone area of FMWR’s 2016 Winter Wonderland event on Dec. 17.

Donnellan; his wife, Nicole; their son, Aisen, who was born in Texas; and his daughter, Aspen, who was born here in Hawaii, were among the crowd that had gathered in the parking lot to await the snow delivery.

Army spouse Amy Abramski brought her 2-year-old daughter Malia to play in the snow. She and Navy spouse April Hernandez took pictures as Malia and Hernandez’s 2-year-old daughter Chloe scooped up bucketfuls of snow.

“This is the main reason we came,” Abramski admitted.
Others divided their time between the snow zone, the Hali Hali rides – the mechanical stuffed animals made to be ridden by children between 3 and 9 years old – and hula and musical

Malia Abramski,  2, reacts in excitment to the snow at FMWR's 2016 Winter Wonderland on Dec. 17.

Malia Abramski, 2, reacts in excitment to the snow at FMWR’s 2016 Winter Wonderland on Dec. 17.

performances by participants in FMWR’s School for Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills, called SKIES Unlimited.

The festivities wrapped up with a dance and a performance by magician Mark Mauricio of the “Magic in Paradise Show” at the Hale Koa Hotel, whose mixture of illusions and humor kept his young audience entertained.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *