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Oakwood residents drink in Christmas festivities
Celebration is revival of event started 15 years ago
From left, Tiffany, Ana and Nancy Aldaco roast marshmallows at Oakwood’s Community Christmas Celebration. Not pictured is their youngest sister, Jessica. - photo by LAUREN BLAIS

Oakwood's Community Christmas Celebration put a lot of holiday spirit into one event - music, lights, Santa on a firetruck, tables of crafts, plus marshmallows and hot chocolate.

At least, there was hot chocolate.

"We ran out of hot chocolate," Sheri Millwood, the city's events planning chairwoman, said, "which was a surprise because we had twice as much as we did last year."

She estimated about 500 people attended the second annual event.

Four sisters from Oakwood came to the celebration for the first time and roasted marshmallows over a fire pit together.

Nancy Aldaco, 16, said she liked seeing the people get together with family and friends, and she enjoyed the festive music, too.

"It's pretty fun and it keeps people entertained," she said. "Also, the marshmallows - they're good."

Ana Aldaco, 9, enjoyed the free hot beverages.

"I like hot chocolate at night," she said.

All four were impressed when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in a fire truck.

"Nobody expected that, I think," Nancy Aldaco said.

After the grand entrance, the sisters, along with many others, had their picture taken with the jolly couple.

The celebration is the revival of a similar event that began 15 years ago. Now, it is coordinated through the new events committee, composed of city employees and residents.

Millwood said the city wanted to put on something festive and affordable for its residents.

"We wanted them to have a time were they could come and listen to music and have hot chocolate," she said.

Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs said he was particularly fond of the music, which featured familiar Christmas tunes and traditional gospel hymns sung by elementary school children, church groups and families.

"We have a lot of singing, a lot of good gospel singing," he said. "It represents everybody, not just one class or group; it's for everybody. It's what Christmas is about."

Frank Turk, 78, of Oakwood has seen many Christmases come and go in his home town. He said he remembers holidays as being less social years ago.

"You didn't get out like this then," he said. "Your Christmas was at home."

Turk served hot chocolate at the event, which was like a tradition, he said.

Millwood said the committee hopes to steadily increase the number of community events in Oakwood. She said she wants to improve upon the Christmas celebration next year by upgrading the design and including a Santa village.

"And double or triple the order of hot chocolate," she added.