Education and the holiday season come together for a group of special events.
The streets of Newhall teemed with children, teens, parents and grandparents alike Saturday as the "Weekend of Winterland Fun" took place.
Beginning in the morning with the "Holiday Parade," spectators and participants migrated over to Hart Park for the annual "Literacy and Arts Festival," organized by the SCV Education Association and the city of Santa Clarita.
More than 500 children participated in the Holiday parade that started on Market Street in Old Town Newhall, and made it's way down Main street before merging into Newhall Avenue and ending at Hart Park.
Beginning with the traditional Sheriff's cars signifying the start of the parade, two banner-bearers followed suit, each holding a sign representing the City of Santa Clarita and the SCV Education Foundation. Councilwoman Marsha McLean waved to the crowd as she shared the burden of the banners.
Dancing groups paused and performed for the board of judges, and some even handed out little incentives.
Groups "Heilani's Hula," "Dance Experience," and "Dance Studio 84" each gave the judges an example of their own unique style of Holiday spirit.
An especially bloated participant–the "Sports Clips" blow-up mascot–waved to the crowds and made children giggle with his bouncy antics and funny frame.
Families and siblings dressed up to their own holiday theme, including a walking nativity scene, a "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" bunch, complete with a green-faced, furry Grinch, a group of Cub Scout bike-riders, and a pony brigade.
The parade ended with the big guy himself–Santa Claus, sans his usual convoy of reindeer and a sleigh. However, his magical appearance still managed to attract two young boys who rushed up to him for a hug.
As quickly as the parade ended, the Literacy and Arts festival began–with a slam! Families rushed over to Hart Park where a large patch of real-life snow awaited them. Snowball fights ensued, and children relished in the rare opportunity of playing in an element foreign to Santa Clarita.
Vendors lined more than half of the park representing educational services, bookstores and sellers, local theatre programs, schools, and of course, festival food. Storybook characters, including Little Red Riding Hood and the train conductor from the Polar express roamed the festival, pausing to take pictures and shake hands with star-struck children.
"The turnout has been great, I think everyone is having fun," Ann Unger, executive director of the SCV Education Foundation said.
"There are a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs, a lot of things to do. It's been a good day, and the weather is perfect."
Keeping the crowd engaged in the theme of education and the performing arts were staged readings, musical performances by several junior high and elementary school choruses, excerpts and monologues from plays by the Canyon Theatre Guild, acoustic guitar players and singers, family bands, and musical theatre performances by the Santa Clarita Theatre project.
Authors of graphic novels and comic books were on hand to sign and add special illustrations to each book sold, and many educational game services gave children the chance to get hands-on experience before purchasing products.