Wendell Wonderful seeks to spread holiday spirit | Wide Awake
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Wendell Wonderful seeks to spread holiday spirit

Posted on November 24, 2021

Wide Awake Wilson
Wendell’s town Christmas tree is shown following the tree-lighting ceremony during the Wendell Wonderland celebration in 2019.

Contributed photo

Wendell’s town Christmas tree is shown following the tree-lighting ceremony during the Wendell Wonderland celebration in 2019.

WENDELL — After a one-year hiatus, Wendell Wonderland is back on with a lineup of family activities while supporting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation.

Wendell Wonderland is scheduled from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, in downtown Wendell. The seasonal celebration features activities like the Lake Myra Light Show, trolley rides, a holiday market, dance and chorus performances, Santa Claus, a cookie walk, tree lighting ceremony, food trucks and more.

Visitors are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for children in need up to age 12 while enjoying the festivities.

“I’m so excited to kick off the holiday season at Wendell Wonderland this year,” said Wendell Mayor Virginia Gray. “This event showcases everything we have to offer in our beautiful town. Families, businesses, smiling faces and the anticipation in children’s eyes all make for a magical evening.”

Participants can take a trolley ride around historic downtown Wendell before checking out the light show containing more than 400,000 lights synchronized to holiday music. Hot cocoa will be served and food trucks will join downtown restaurants in serving festival attendees.

Wendell United Methodist Church will offer “grandma-approved homemade cookies” for $10 a box. Seven choral and dance performances are planned, along with a lighting ceremony for Wendell’s 23-foot Christmas tree at Town Square complete with a snow machine.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a bright red firetruck after the tree is lit.

Wendell partners with the Raleigh Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to host a donation drive at Wendell Wonderland each year. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation coordinates with social welfare agencies, church groups and other community agencies to distribute toys — with 566 million toys distributed to date. The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is, through the gift of a new toy, to help bring the joy of the holidays and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.

“This event brings around 4,000 people each year,” said Jeffrey Polaski, Wendell Parks and Recreation director. “We hope to encourage as many of those people as we can to bring toys to these kids.”

In 2019, the town was able to donate more than 650 toys in one night, including multiple kids’ bikes.

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