By ROSIE GITHINJI
MT. VERNON — —
Christmas comes but once a year and with it comes Christmas in the Park — at least in Mt. Vernon.
Rev. Gene Tucker, one of the organizers for the annual event, said Christmas in the Park has been a long standing event held at Veterans Memorial Park and a way to bring area churches together during the holiday season.
This year there will be 12 churches participating with 11 displays. There are also two new displays this year, one is with shephards in the field and the other is a secular themed display, which he said can best be described as “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
Each participating church has it’s own themed display and Tucker said when members from each church meet to plan the display they make sure themes will not overlap.
“About half the displays have to do with the traditional Christmas story,” Tucker said, with displays that range from the birth of the baby Jesus to the end of his time on earth. The other half of the displays are more secular and will include scenes with snowmen, candy canes and other Christmas displays.
He said in past years there have always been good sized crowds who attend the event, with an average of 1,500 cars and anywhere between 2,400 to 3,000 visitors.
“It depends a little bit on the weather,” he said. “We always pray for good weather.”
Visitors can choose one of two nights to drive through the display, Tucker said.
“We do not encourage them to walk through,” he added.
Admission is free, but Tucker said there will be a place for donations at the end of the route, the majority of which will go towards the Christmas food basket program done by Trinity Episcopal Church. This year, the church is providing baskets to 715 families, up from 600 families last year, he said.
The Christmas in the Park event will take place Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15 and will be from 6 to 9 p.m. each night.