Walking in a Bay Ridge Wonderland!
For over 30 years, Saint Anselm’s had a holiday tradition that brought an entire neighborhood together for the Christmas season, Winter Wonderland. Not surprisingly, kids that grew up between the mid-’60s and the mid-’90s developed fond memories of the event that included tons of cheerful activities.
Now, their kids and grandkids can experience the same joys as, after a 15 year hiatus, Winter Wonderland was revived by Saint Anselm Catholic Academy in 2010, drawing crowds of nearly 2,000 people each year.
One of the event’s organizers and a member of the Winter Wonderland Committee, Jeanine Condon, was once one of those former students who fell in love with the event .
“It was an important tradition to bring back for the school,” she said. “I am an alumna. I had a great childhood experience during the Wonderland. My kids go to the school now and it’s a nice thing to bring them so they can experience it on their own.”
According to Condon, the Winter Wonderland Committee consists largely of St. Anselm’s alumni. “It was great to do along with other alumni parents,” she said. “We did it for the kids. We want them to love it as much as we loved and looked forward to it.”
Attendees can expect plenty of holiday cheer, including “a live Nativity for kids to participate in,” Condon explained. “It consists of two floors. The main floor has a Christmas boutique with vendors and handmade houses that are designed for kids to go in and play. Santa Claus is there as well.”
There will also be a holiday candy shop and a 25-foot Christmas tree .
Although there are plenty of activities for children and adults alike, there are some favorites among fans. “I think the kids most look forward to taking pictures with Santa. Every kid that shows up walks away with a toy at the end of the event. They also enjoy the live Nativity play,” said Condon.
The event relies heavily on volunteers and family donations. Luckily, many people have played their part to keep the tradition going. “It means a lot since all the money goes to the school,” she said.
To bring the Christmas cheer to today’s generation means a lot to the entire Winter Wonderland Committee. “I think that it’s nice we don’t have to go home and romanticize the past,” Condon added. “Things can still be the same. I think it’s a great thing to share it. My parents enjoyed it. To bring it back has been great. It’s gotten better each year.”
The St. Anselm Catholic Academy Winter Wonderland will be held at the school, 365 83rd Street on Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Entry is $5 and all proceeds will go to the school. For more information, call 917-734-2794 or visit www.sacany.org.