Five-and-a-half-year-old Kristina Greenwood stood in her red corduroy dress Saturday, focused on several strips of red and green paper at St. Paul's Episcopal Church. She applied glue to the ends of the rectangular pieces, looping them and connecting them to each other, making a chain of red and green.
Instead of putting them on the tree, she said she wanted to hang them on the stairs. She then looked up, flashing baby teeth and a huge, sly smile. Kristina's mother, Linda Greenwood, said her daughter wanted to make 12 rings, one for each day left until Christmas, because Kristina has been counting down to the big day, when she hopes to get "Kaya," one of the American Girl dolls.
After making the Christmas-colored chain, Kristina went over to sit in Santa's lap, where she relayed her Christmas wish to the big man who sat in for tea that afternoon.
At the church, children and parents read stories, sang carols and decorated tree ornaments and cookies.
Parker Temple, 6, and his brother Brandon, 3, concentrated on decorating cookies. The two squirted generous helpings of red, white and green icing on sugar cookies that their mother, Kim Temple, was sure would keep them awake for at least three days. The two boys topped off their masterpieces with a mountain of chocolate sprinkles, giving the cookies a sweeter-than-sugar appearance.
The event at St. Paul's was part of a fund-raiser for the Emerald City Opera that also included a children's concert and Resident Artist Spotlight Series performance. The events at the church were just a few of many activities in Steamboat Springs on Saturday that kept Santa's schedule booked.
Santa was first seen parading down Lincoln Avenue with several cowboy escorts and Routt County Fair Queen Amanda Sumerlin. He was greeted by a few youngsters waving to him near Soda Creek Western Mercantile, where he heard his first gift requests of the day. Soda Creek provided cookies, candy and hot cider for all those who visited. Mrs. Claus, however, did not make it this year as she had done in recent years, said Soda Creek Mercantile Manager Debbie Daniel.
Santa also made an appearance at Torian Plum Plaza to check on his sled and reindeer and hear more Christmas wishes from children. Torian Plum merchants provided coloring contests, games and prize giveaways to visitors.
At 5 p.m., many in the community met back at St. Paul's Episcopal Church to hear a concert performed by the Columbine Youth Chorale, the Steamboat Springs Youth Orchestra and many other children of Routt County. Children ages 8 to 13 could participate in the performance, said Keri Rusthoi, founder and director of the Emerald City Opera.
The children's performance was followed by an adult concert of singing and piano playing, which was part of the Emerald City Opera's Resident Artist Spotlight Series.
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