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Wrapping Up North Hempstead’s Winter Wonderland

Town and businesses provide decorations and activities for annual winter festival.

The Business and Tourism Corporation set up their annual festive displays for the Winter Wonderland Extravaganza at the Clark Botanic Gardens in Albertson this past month, providing a number fun activities for families to enjoy the holiday season at the Clark Garden, free of charge.

“It’s a nice way of getting people from the town together,” North Hempstead Public Information Officer Sidhartha Nathan said.

The Winter Wonderland has been an annual program provided by the town since 2002 with numerous families residents coming to enjoy the festive music playing, fireside holiday storytelling and cookie decorating among other activities.

During the first two days of the festival about 600 children came to decorate cookies. North Hempstead photographer John Meehan said this year probably was unusually crowded because of the weather, reasoning that “there were no snow flurries.”

Among all of the festive displays, the most popular is the which was donated by of Mineola. One display is placed inside the Old Clark House while the other is put outside near the garden.

“Kids like the train; it’s fun to see something so small in scale and operating on its own,” Meehan said. “Even the little girls smile.”

Steve Ford, owner of Willis Hobbies enjoys donating their displays for events like the Winter Wonderland. Along with Clark Botanical Garden, Willis Hobbies donates their train displays to Old Westbury Gardens each year.

“Model trains are a big part of the holiday seasons so it’s nice to provide our displays. It’s nice for this time of year,” Ford said.

In addition to the trains, children also like the music as well. During the final two days of the Winter Wonderland – which concluded Monday after an extension – Pat Farrell, the , came as a “one man band” to play the popular holiday songs for the children, a gig he has been playing since the festival started.

Children got to sing along with shakers and maracas in their hands while Farrell displayed blinking lights.

“It’s a lot of fun and they’re [kids] fun,” he said. “They love it when I start the blinking lights.”

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