On Saturday, December 14th the San Bernardino YMCA held its Christmas Parade around Perris Hill Park. Immediately after the parade the City of San Bernardino hosted the Winter Wonderland activities. Thousands showed up for the festivities and enjoyed several events that the city and various vendors provided for the community.
Live entertainment, food, photos with Santa, crafts, police department SWAT and motorcycle displays, and vendors were all part of the Winter Wonderland activities. However, one of the biggest attractions was the four-lane 60-ton snow slide that was created for saucer sledding and the occasional snowball fight! Many of these children said that they had never experienced saucer sledding before, and many said that they had never seen snow at all! Just as much fun as saucer sledding was helping the children with various activities. San Bernardino Police Explorer scouts joined the Parks and Recreation Department in organizing the snow play. Many of the Police Explorers also experienced snow for the first time.
At the top of the snow slide, San Bernardino Police Officer B. Nelson worked with George Hernandez who was a special needs student at Pacific High School. Next to George was his mom Alicia Rodrigues. Working together, George was able to make several successful snow saucer sled runs.
15 six-foot Christmas trees were raffled off to visitors at the event. One lady waited all day for the chance of winning a Christmas tree, and her efforts paid off as she went home with the last tree! During the late afternoon, San Bernardino City Mayor John Valdivia, 2nd Ward Councilperson Sandra Ibarra, and Sixth Ward Councilperson Bessine L. Richard all made an appearance for the official lighting of the Christmas tree.
City of San Bernardino Parks and Recreation Manager Juanita Webster said that over 4,200 people were reached out to on social media having about 2,000 registrations on EventBrite alone. Parks and Recreation employee Felicia Brown was taking Santa photos of all the participants, who also received goody bags after their Santa visit.
Making their third appearance in San Bernardino was the Star of Hope USA a Nonprofit Disaster Therapy Arts Program. Five-year-old Lulani Chavers paints a star for the Star of Hope, which will soon be on display.