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Woodstocks 2nd 'Winter Wonderland' draws a crowd

by: ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Ryan Lilly Newton, a student at the Homestead Schoolhouse pre-school, waits for the Woodstock Winter Wonderland€sˇÃ„ôs tree lighting €sˇÃ„ì with €sˇÃ„úBaby€sˇÃ„Ã1, and his parents Jessica and Tyrone.On the first night of December this year, a light rain was falling – as people gathered in the yard of the Homestead Schoolhouse, across from Otto’s. The occasion was the second annual Winter Wonderland event of caroling and tree lighting.

“Mingle All the Way” was the theme, and from 4 to 6 pm, some two hundred people – including dozens of families with young children in tow – were indeed mingling, as they sang carols and sampled food snacks from Otto’s, Bridge City Pizza, Toast, Papaccino’s, all of whose tables were sheltered from the rain under tents.

Samantha Howe, accompanied by Dan Adams on piano, led the crowd in singing, while many of the young people danced or swayed to such tunes as Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bell Rock, among the classic songs and carols.

Brian Becker, lead pastor of Hope City Church and one of the celebration’s organizers, was the Master of Ceremonies who kept the crowd engaged with humor, as he read winning raffle ticket numbers beginning at 5:30 pm.

Earlier in the day at Papaccino’s Coffee Shop, owner Sean Daugherty, who is also the currentPresident of the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), hosted an afternoon fundraiser for the business association, involving taking photos with Santa, which raised about $2,000.

When asked about the television set in the corner of the coffee shop that had been displayed all week as the grand prize for the raffle, Daugherty said he’d stood in line on Black Friday at Fred Meyer to purchase it at half price. Later, at the gathering at the Homestead Schoolhouse, a woman who had bought ten tickets for fifteen dollars won the 50-inch flat screen television, valued at $899.00.

During the raffle, other numbers were called for gift certificates and services from twenty-five businesses along Woodstock Boulevard – from Woodstock Wine & Deli, at 41st Avenue, to Bridge City Pizza, east of 52nd Avenue. All winners not present (phone numbers were on backs of tickets) were called on Monday by event organizer Tessah Denel of KeyBank, where the gifts were to be picked up.

The sponsors and organizers of the Winter Festival included the Woodstock KeyBank, WCBA, the Homestead Schoolhouse, Hope City Church, VCA Woodstock Animal Hospital, Papaccino’s Coffee, and Mixed Media. A grant from Venture Portland helped finance the event. THE BEE donated the advertising.

As the 6 pm hour arrived at the Homestead Schoolhouse, the persistent drizzle ramped up to steady rain, but the weather didn’t seem to dampen enthusiasm for the countdown to the climax of the celebration – the tree lighting. Kiley Cronen of the Homestead Schoolhouse flipped the switch, and the colored bulb strands which Woodstock Fire Station 25 had helped to place lit up on the 18-foot tree donated by Otto’s Eichentopf family from their Longview farm.

Children were delighted, in spite of the rain, but after a while adults bundled them up and headed for drier ground.