Families walk through AMR Winter Wonderland

| December 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — Koral Meacham plays in the snow during Winter Wonderland at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Community Center, Dec. 16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — The community center, here, came alive with cheer, inflatable holiday décor and snow, Saturday.

The annual Winter Wonderland event, hosted by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, began early in the morning with Breakfast with Santa.

“‘Breakfast with Santa’ patrons (had a) wonderful breakfast prepared by Hale Ikena, as well as time to meet with Santa and some of his costumed friends,” said Mary Negron, special events coordinator for DFMWR and coordinator of Winter Wonderland.

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — Stella Goodman plays with manmade snow during Winter Wonderland outside the Aliamanu Military Reservation Community Center, Dec. 16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

After breakfast, families lined up for the Snow Zone, where a mound of 25 tons of fresh, man-made snow awaited them. With their parents in tow, the children explored the bright, white playground.

“It was awesome,” military spouse Chantel Horner said, adding that the highlight of her day was watching her son’s reaction to the snow.
“He’s never had that experience before, and now he does, so it’ll be good for when we move someplace where they have snow,” she said.

In addition to Snow Zone, there were numerous other activities at nearly every turn in and around the community center: a balloon station, ornament-decorating stations, bounce castles, sports activities and more.

ALIAMANU MILITARY RESERVATION — Briana Hall goes after a tennis ball during Winter Wonderland at the Aliamanu Military Reservation Community Center, Dec. 16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Eliana Hall’s daughter, Briana, took tennis lessons.

“She had fun,” Hall, a military spouse, said. “I loved that (the event) was so organized. They have a lot of activities for kids, so that’s a good thing.”

The 25th Infantry Division Band performed holiday songs, such as “Silent Night,” “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag” and “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”

More entertainment awaited in the form of performances by magician Mark Allen Mauricio of the Hale Koa Hotel’s “Magic in Paradise” show, as well as dance performances by members of the Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration & Skills Unlimited (SKIES) program.

Vendors sold street food and refreshments, while community organizations set up informational booths.

Nicki Chaney poses with her children, Maddox and Mikayla, pose with Santa Claus during Winter Wonderland at Aliamanu Military Reservation, Dec. 16, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Two photo booths – one for snapshots exclusively with Santa, another for photos with other Christmas characters, such as The Grinch, and Elsa and Anna from “Frozen” – were available to help families preserve memories of the day.

“I think it definitely brings the community together since we are away from our families,” said Sophia Pal, who donned reindeer antlers and posed for photos with her son, Nico. “It forces us to get together and make new friends.”

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Category: Community

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