A Winter Wonderland

Welcome to the Mayor C. John Apollo park and preserve for Nachton's Winter Festival! Everything is cheery and white under its blanket of snow; the air is crisp and fresh. Children are playing, throwing snowballs across the field, building snowmen, making snow angels.

The Festival takes place at the northern end of the preserve, where the pond is well-frozen. Ice skaters have taken to it, some twirling beautiful patterns with grace and poise, others laughing as they stumble along, making a few inches' ground between spills. Those without skates are welcome to "rent" them at the little booth to the side of the pond where a volunteer for the Nachton Children's Foundation hands them out cheerfully. A little box for donations is present, but certainly not required; all are invited to have a delightful time, regardless.

Two sleighs make their way along the snow, one arriving at a set of steps every half-hour, taking hour-long turns through the entire park and preserve. One sleigh is drawn by two shining white horses, their coats as beautiful and pristine as the snow upon the ground. The other is pulled by two velvety black horses, a perfect match for the dark sky above. Each sleigh seats up to twelve people, hay-ride style; indeed, passengers can see where children have torn free a great deal of hay from the bales lining the sides of the sleigh, creating big piles of the loose, fragrant forage.

On the opposite side of the lake is a little pavilion with several tables inside; visiters are welcome to swing by and grab a steaming cup of mulled cider, hot cocoa, or tea. Right next to it is a little stand with gingerbread men, candy canes, and warmed muffins. Also beneath the pavilion is a much longer table manned by several more volunteers. Upon this is a veritable decorator's utopia. Paper, glitter, ribbons, sparkles, fuzzies, feathers, beads of all colors and sizes, and everything you might need to make your very own ornament lie spread out before you. For a small donation, you can create your own ornament and contribute it to the pool, to be randomly passed out before the night is over.

The entire area is decorated with strands of sparkling silver and gold lights, and a fir tree near the mounting block for the sleighs has been decorated with multitudes of lovely ornaments made by little hands. A single beautiful, bright star casts its glow from the top of the tree all the way across the pond.

Bring your family and friends, and have fun this winter!

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