Santa entertains children of all ages during Oxford’s annual Holiday Festival

Santa Claus turned the tables on one young man during their visit Dec. 1 at the Holiday Festival by sitting on his lap, drawing laughs from all in the area. Santa provided many memories for kids and parents during the evening. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Santa Claus turned the tables on one young man during their visit Dec. 1 at the Holiday Festival by sitting on his lap, drawing laughs from all in the area. Santa provided many memories for kids and parents during the evening. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

The rain held off and the snow was manufactured on a warmish Dec. 1 evening, and Santa arrived on a firetruck in the Uptown park for the annual Holiday Festival.

Santa then visited with children while a couple of reindeer were housed in a pen.

The day’s events began in the morning with the popular craft fair held in the Oxford Community Arts Center, fortunately indoors as rain and dampness prevailed throughout the daytime hours. The rain eventually stopped, and temperatures stayed comfortable.

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The reindeer were a bit out of their element but gave visitors some holiday memories of meeting Prancer and Dancer up close.

Their visit was overseen by Shelby Coffey, an employee of Whitetail Acres Nursery and Landscaping, which brought the reindeer to town.

Reindeer from Whitetail Acres Nursery and Landscaping, near Brookville, Indiana, were on hand for this year s Oxford Holiday Festival drawing interest from visitors of all ages. Prancer and Dancer were a popular draw for the evening including the time when they were being led to their pen as college students helped the move and took selfies of themselves with the animals. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Reindeer from Whitetail Acres Nursery and Landscaping, near Brookville, Indiana, were on hand for this year s Oxford Holiday Festival drawing interest from visitors of all ages. Prancer and Dancer were a popular draw for the evening including the time when they were being led to their pen as college students helped the move and took selfies of themselves with the animals. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

Kevin and Alice Priessman own the business near Brookville, Indiana.

Coffey entertained visitors with facts and stories about reindeer and said they currently have 14 of them at the farm. These two are properly referred to as Northern Woodland Caribou with reindeer a common designation for several species of caribou. He said the Priessmans get the animals from Wisconsin and Alaska.

“Antlers are like fingerprints,” Coffey said, explaining the animals lose their antlers every summer and they grow back quickly in the fall. “That’s how I tell them apart. After they molt in the summer, I cannot tell them apart, but their antlers grow back the same.”

Coffey explained reindeer have nasal cavities through which the air they breathe is warmed before reaching their lungs, and their hair is hollow which helps to insulate them. Their legs slow the blood flow to their feet to keep them warm, and they use their hooves like shovels to dig snow out in their search for food. The clicking which can be heard when they walk is a tendon snapping against their ankle bone.

Coffey is a U.S. Navy veteran and served on submarines. In civilian life, he worked in information technology. However, he now prefers working for the Priessmans more.

“It’s outside. I gave up IT and I love it,” he said.

The Priessmans started the business in 1984 as a Christmas tree farm, and it eventually evolved into a full-service garden center and landscaping company.

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Casey Wooddell, director of parks and recreation, said the day’s activities were the same as last year’s festival, which proved popular with the community.

Talawanda Band Boosters again hosted the arts and crafts fair in the Oxford Community Arts Center as part of this year’s Holiday Festival, drawing a host of vendors working in a variety of media to offer a large array of holiday gift ideas. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN
Talawanda Band Boosters again hosted the arts and crafts fair in the Oxford Community Arts Center as part of this year’s Holiday Festival, drawing a host of vendors working in a variety of media to offer a large array of holiday gift ideas. CONTRIBUTED/BOB RATTERMAN

“We were super excited the rain held off and allowed us to hold the event. It was a great weekend, a great crowd,” Wooddell said. “It worked out as well or better than expected. We had no rain date. It would have cost us again if we had to have everything back on Sunday.”

The day was a joint effort by a committee of sponsors.

The city sponsored the carriage rides, the reindeer and Santa Claus while Enjoy Oxford coordinated the musical performances on the stage.

Miami University’s Activities and Planning office sponsored the skating rink, which included holiday music and artificial snow which blew around the area.

The arts center was open all day for the Talawanda Band Boosters’ arts and crafts fair.

“They provided the building at a minimal price,” Wooddell said. “It was a very generous partnership for the building.”

The Oxford Chamber of Commerce helped with marketing the Holiday Festival.

Wooddell also praised the efforts of the city’s police and fire departments, as well as the service department, for their work in making the festival a success.

“They were all involved to make sure it all went well,” he said.