Winter Wonderland is Back—Bring on the Kids!
The 24th annual Winter Wonderland graces downtown Clearwater, Florida, once again with plenty of fun for the young at heart, a public service of the Clearwater Community Volunteers and the Church of Scientology.
Santa was right on time for the opening ceremony of the 24th Annual Winter Wonderland December 2 and downtown Clearwater was once again transformed by the Church of Scientology and the Clearwater Community Volunteers.
A unique public service, Winter Wonderland is one way the Church ensures Christmas is a special time for children in Clearwater and Pinellas and Pasco counties. It is a Christmas village complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus’s cookie decorating kitchen, hot chocolate shop and rides and attractions. Admission is free and visitors are asked to bring nonperishable food items or an unwrapped toy, which are donated to local charities for families that would otherwise not have a Christmas.
The Church’s Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout pack 313 opened the ceremony by posting the colors and leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Church of Scientology Public Relations Officer Pat Harney welcomed the guest speakers to the stage: Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, Executive Director of Pinellas County Police Athletic League Neil Brickfield, Leonard Johnson Foundation Co-Founder Schenique Harris, and Executive Director of the Clearwater Community Volunteers Pam Ryan Anderson.
“On behalf of my colleagues on the Clearwater City Council, Bill Jonson, Bob Cundiff, Hoyt Hamilton, Doreen Caudell, we are excited to have another holiday season before us. And to be here with you to mark the 24th year of this program is very special,” said the mayor.
“To be here with you to mark the 24th year of this program is very special.”—Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos
Santa and his elves then put the children in holiday spirit by lighting the Christmas tree after recovering Santa’s bag of toys that the Grinch had attempted to carry away.
Then the kids dashed off to play on the 20-foot slide and the two bouncy houses while others lined up for photos with Santa or decorated cookies with Mrs. Claus. The child-sized train, pony rides and petting zoo were also popular attractions.
For Tampa Bay Area kids, the opening of Winter Wonderland, which has served the community every year since 1993, is a highly anticipated and integral part of the Christmas season.
“This is a special place,” said PAL’s Neil Brickfield. “There is no other place like this in Pinellas County.”
Winter Wonderland is located at Osceola Courtyard at the corner of Drew Street and Fort Harrison Avenue. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. until December 23.
The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries.
Church of Scientology Media Relations
(323) 960-3500 phone
(323) 960-3508 fax