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Christmas in the Park successful holiday event

Flora VerStraten-Merrin participated in storytelling at Christmas in the Park at Beatty Park, portraying her great-great-grandmother who lived near the park in 1880. -- Contributed

STEUBENVILLE — While the next organized event at Beatty Park in Steubenville’s South End at 621 Lincoln Ave. isn’t until next month, Flora VerStraten-Merrin is still relishing the event held there last month.

Christmas in the Park held Dec. 4 was a big success with family-friendly activities enjoyed by all who attended, according to VerStraten-Merrin of the Friends of Beatty Park Revitalization Group that organized the event.

Christmas in the Park featured a live nativity (with real animals); live Christmas music by the Sycamore Youth Choir, vocalist Darlene Van Dyke-Sofronski and the Friends community choir; the Beatty Park float that had been part of Steubenville’s Christmas parade earlier that day; Mr. Santa and Mrs. Claus and helpers who were on hand for pictures with children and/or pets with doggie treats and kids treats and the opportunity to write a letter to Santa; children’s crafts; and a walk/hike.

The Old Stone Lodge was decked out in all of her Victorian glory and was the site of storytelling. VerStraten-Merrin thanked John Boileigh and Paul Zuros, executive director of Historic Fort Steuben, for sharing some local historical stories.

“I had fun representing my great-great-grandmother Harriet Atkinson Barrett, who married John Barrett, and they lived right up the road from the park in 1880,” she noted.

“All of the months of planning and work of many volunteers was appreciated, enjoyed and loved by our community,” VerStraten-Merrin commented. “I am thankful for all of the volunteers who donated, not only their time, but also their talents and goods.”

“The attendance — hundreds — and distances traveled from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, far and near, to enjoy the event is proof of the desire and need to offer such events,” she added.

No special activities at the park are on the January calendar, but a winter hike is planned there for Feb. 26, beginning at noon.

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