The city of Lula said it would hold its Christmas in the Park celebration Saturday “rain or shine,” and despite the cold rain, the community still came together to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.
Lula city manager Dennis Bergin said there was a decline in attendance over last year, but understood the weather kept people away.
“It was pouring like cats and dogs up until about an hour ago,” Bergin said. “So, we understand that, but hopefully we’ll make the best of it. Santa’s still coming. I just talked to him a minute ago and he’s excited to be here.”
Among the attractions were booths headed by local businesses, churches, and the closing parade which acts as the headlining moment of the celebration. Each booth handed out free food, from baked goods to hot beverages. While the event came together as a Christmas celebration, including churches, a Santa for the kids and performers singing Christmas carols, businesses were also present, with business owners viewing it as a way for people to get to know the community at large, including Lula Pharmacy & Foothills Gift Shop Pharmacist Amy Miller.
“I think it’s a great way to bring the whole community together and meet people that you just don’t get to see very much,” Miller said. “Our lives are so busy and fast-paced now that I think this is a great way to get everybody out and meet people. I love this.”
Buster Autry, pastor at Main Street Gospel, agreed with Miller that Christmas in the Park was about community both for Lula’s citizens and for anyone passing through who wants to see the spirit of the town captured.
“It gives us a chance to get acquainted with everybody in the neighborhood,” Autry said. “The businesses and churches and people who come in to visit around and see how our little town looks. It’s just a fun time to get acquainted. That’s the reason we call it a ‘meet and greet.’ we just get together and give out stuff and enjoy everybody’s company.””
Bergin says that Christmas in the Park was part of a larger movement of community events for the people of Lula, and hopes it will grow as years go by and city renovations give them more space to use for a wider range of attractions.
“The city throughout the year does a lot of community events where we bring everybody together to get a chance to meet your neighbor and fellowship,” Bergin said. “Like today, everything we do here today is free. Every booth that you see is donating their services and what have you. Of course it is that time of year, but we do this year round. We’re proud. Overall, this is something we’re just excited about and every year is gonna be bigger and better. Next year we’ll incorporate the depot renovation so we’ll have all-day festivities going on. So we’re pretty excited about it.”