The Town of Herndon put the holidays front and center the first weekend in December with multiple events geared to different ages and interests. From winter games to arts and crafts, homes decorated for the holidays to Santa visits, the Town of Herndon offered these spirited activities and more. While holiday events make memories and foster community, the true spirit of holidays might best have been voiced under the stars, deep in the woods of Runnymede Park.
The Herndon Fortnightly Library celebrated the start of the holiday season with winter-themed crafts and games and a visit with Santa, a first for Emir Oncu, 14 months, during its Winter Holiday Open House. ArtSpace Herndon offered refreshments and a Holiday Gift Shop with the opportunity to meet local artists selling their works and meet members of various town civic organizations.
VOLUNTEERS presented the 2019 Holiday Homes Tour of Herndon as they showcased five homes decorated for the holidays and reflecting the neighborly spirit and community pride that co-chairs Susan Anselene and Keven LeBlanc said in the event program made "Herndon so unique.” Cathy Alifrangis, Beverly McConney and Bev Burns waited on the front porch of the Tollini Family, 719 Dranesville Road. "I'm introducing my two neighbors to this yearly event. It's a fun way to support local organizations like the Rotary Club of Herndon, docents for that home," she said.
The town tree lighting with Pride of Herndon, Herndon High School’s band playing holiday favorites and Santa's visit by fire engine drew many families to Herndon's historic district.
However, for many children, the event that stood out happened Friday, Dec. 6, in the quiet, under stars at Runnymede Park in Herndon.
In the dark of night, a man dressed in a furry red suit, heavy black boots, and sporting a long white beard made his way across the park’s 58-acres of dense woods. Eventually, he neared a light-filled opening in front of an old stone cabin, the Carroll House, built in 1909.
SANTA watched the dozens of families out under the stars. The Taylor family of Herndon roasted marshmallows and made S’mores. Kevin Taylor, Audrey’s dad, helped her remove the crisp melted confection off her stick and onto the chocolate bar on top of her graham cracker. Santa saw Janie Peerenboom, 5, of Herndon sip hot cocoa, and heard her say, "It's warm, and it has marshmallows.” He watched children run around the winter wonderland meadow illuminated by twinkling lights strung overhead and on the face of the Carroll House.
When Santa made his presence known, though, the cheer went up. He went and sat in a chair near the cabin while parents and children formed a line to wait for their turns to chat with the old man in red.
Three friends, Kenneth Vo, Daniela Bruno and Alexa Smith, stood first in line. When it was their turn, the trio went up and stood next to Santa. Asked what each wanted for Christmas, Kenneth said, "A dog." Daniela said, "A cat," and Alexa said, "A glue gun." Then Kenneth changed his answer "Peace because we love the world," he said to Santa, and all walked away.
A moment later, steps from Santa, they reconsidered their answers. "World peace is what I want," said Kenneth. "I want to do good in school and want happiness for all for the holidays,” said Daniella. Alexa looked down at the ground and then raised her head. "I recently had a friend pass from leukemia. My hope, my wish is that all with leukemia get better," she said.