MaKayla Woods paints a pine cone Saturday during “Santa’s Workshop,” presented by the Optimist Club of Steamboat Springs at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. The free event included opportunities for children and their families to give to five local and national organizations.

Photo by Matt Stensland

MaKayla Woods paints a pine cone Saturday during “Santa’s Workshop,” presented by the Optimist Club of Steamboat Springs at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. The free event included opportunities for children and their families to give to five local and national organizations.

Optimist event creates smiles

‘Santa’s Workshop’ draws families, offers crafts and games

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Landon Wendler, 9, watches the Santa puppet as Bud Werner Memorial Library Youth Services Librarian Sarah Kostin provides narration for “The Night Before Christmas” during “Santa’s Workshop,” presented by the Optimist Club of Steamboat Springs at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. Janice Rogers is holding her 6-month-old great grandson, Conner Hinkle, who is dressed as Santa during the show.

— Six-year-old Mallory Thomas didn’t hesitate to announce her favorite part of a “Santa’s Workshop” activity day Saturday afternoon at the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs.

“Seeing Santa” and asking for coloring books was her favorite, Mallory said. Painting a pinecone to create a small, crafty Christmas tree came in second.

Mallory — a Steamboat Springs resident who attended the event with her 19-year-old sister, Haven Thomas, and her grandmother, who was visiting from Texas, Wendie Thomas — was part of a crowd of children of all ages who worked at holiday crafts during the activity day.

Presented by the Optimist Club of Steamboat Springs, “Santa’s Workshop” included a variety of holiday games and treats, along with opportunities to give to five local and national charitable organizations.

In the craft-themed toy maker’s workshop room, children sat around three tables making three different holiday crafts, which they had the choice to donate to seniors participating in the local Meals on Wheels program.

A letter-writing room gave children the chance to list three good things they’ve done in the past year and ask for their ideal Christmas gift. Those

letters went into a box that an Optimist Club member will take to a Macy’s store on the Front Range. For every letter received as part of a national campaign, Macy’s has pledged $1 to as much as $1 million to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Saturday’s event also featured donation boxes for LIFT-UP of Routt County and Toys for Tots, as well as a chance to give to the Optimist Club’s scholarship fund benefiting local students.

Student puppeteers Delaney Ziegman, a third-grader at Soda Creek Elementary School, and Esther Rose DelliQuadri, a fifth-grader at Strawberry Park Elementary School, joined Sarah Kostin, Bud Werner Memorial Library youth services librarian, in a puppet show and performance of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

“I’ve always loved ‘The Night Before Christmas.’ I memorized it as a child and used to perform it for my family,” Kostin said. The final performance of the puppet play Saturday included plenty of audience participation from a room packed with young children, as Kostin encouraged them to nestle, snore and make clatter along with the story.

Julie Anderson, who was visiting Steamboat on Saturday for a ski vacation with her family from Fort Collins, said she came to the event to find indoor entertainment for her children.

Perry, 4, and Justine, 2, made Christmas-tree pinecones, decorated holiday cookies, played “reindeer games” in the Boys & Girls Club gym, watched the puppet play and made stockings at “Santa’s Workshop.” As Justine busily licked red icing off the cookie she’d just finished decorating, Julie Anderson said the event had met her expectations.

“They’ve just had an absolute blast. It’s been super successful and messy,” Anderson said.

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