By MADDY VITALE
The Ocean City Community Center featured plenty of festive spirit and loads of activities for families to enjoy on Sunday during its annual Holiday Festival.
There was a very jolly Santa, a happy Mrs. Claus, elves, an animated stilt walker, carolers dressed in Victorian-era clothing, crafts, a singer who serenaded guests who awaited photos with Santa, and plenty of sugary snacks to nibble.
Adult Librarian Julie Howard, who, along with Assistant Library Director Kathryn Brown, is in charge of the event each year.
Howard looked around at the families and said the festival is “one of our favorite events of the year.”
“Families come together to have a good time, celebrate the holidays and just enjoy their time at the library,” Howard said. “It’s a good turnout and it’s nice to see a lot of new faces. It looks like it is off to a great start.”
Each year, the event serves to spotlight the Community Center, located at 1735 Simpson Avenue, and all of its public facilities. There were activities and plenty to purchase at the Ocean City Arts Center and Ocean City Historical Museum. The museum also featured a special reading by local author, Olivia Margulis.
Stilt walker “Buddy” and carolers kept guests entertained as they awaited the arrival of Santa.
When he made his grand entrance, he glided down the staircase of the Arts Center into the atrium to greet children who clapped and giggled upon his arrival.
Santa asked the children what they wanted and welcomed families to join him for photos in the library’s Children’s Section.
Bob and Barbara Haley, of Marmora, their son-in-law Mason Augustine, of Cape May Court House, and his daughter, Skylar, 3, made the most of the fun day.
Skylar nibbled on a cupcake as she waited in line for a balloon animal, while her grandfather kept her amused.
“This is really fantastic. It is set up very nice for everyone,” Bob said of the festival. “Skylar is having a good time.”
Barbara and Mason watched as Skylar zipped around her grandfather excitedly awaiting her toy.
“It’s so nice for the community to get together for an event like this,” Barbara said. “It’s a nice break from reality.”
As carolers sang classic holiday songs, Jamie Kaczaniuk, of Baltimore, Md., watched as her children, Zenon, Anya, and Vera, and their cousins, Madison and Nathan Barber, of Philadelphia, had a photo taken with Santa.
“My mom lives in Somers Point so we thought it would be nice while we visited her to get into the holiday spirit and come to the festival,” Kaczaniuk said, with a smile.
The family then made their way to the crafts room where Children’s Librarian Taimi Kelley, along with a couple of elves, gave some artistic assistance to the families.
Rosalie Davis, 3, had fun making crafts with her parents, Stephanie and Ocean City Police Officer Jack Davis, of Ocean City, and her grandmother, Valerie Davis.
“She’s been looking forward to the festival,” Jack Davis said. “She went to see Santa already and she still needs to see Mrs. Claus.”
While the Davis family would be making their way to visit Mrs. Claus after creating some crafts, Jackie Medina, of Somers Point, and her children, Gianna, 8, Sophia, 4, and 6-year-old son Michael were already there.
“This is the first year we came to the festival,” Medina said. “I think it is wonderful. The kids are having fun with crafts. It’s great to have all of these stations. There’s live entertainment and food. They are having so much fun.”
For more information about the Ocean City Free Public Library visit https://www.oceancitylibrary.org/