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Laman Christmas party a Wintersville tradition

PLAYING ALONG — Aiden McCartney, 8, of Mingo Junction, was among children who accepted an invitation to play along with Kenny Wells, left, and his son, Kelly, as they played various Christmas songs at the 41st annual Ray Laman Christmas Party. -- Warren Scott

WINTERSVILLE — A Wintersville Christmas tradition was carried on Saturday, thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated volunteers and donations from many businesses and residents.

Pamela Damis, coordinator of the 41st annual Ray Laman Christmas Party held at the Wintersville Fire Department, said the smiles on the children’s faces are the reward for those who work to put together the event.

“This is what’s it all about. When you see the kids enjoying themselves, it makes it all worthwhile,” she said as she watched children dance with Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Mrs. Claus.

Music was again provided by Kenny Wells, who was accompanied this year by his son, Kelly. The two invited the children to try playing along on guitars, maracas or tambourine.

As they waited to meet with Santa Claus, guests were surprised by another visitor: The Grinch, who burst out of a large wrapped box.

FESTIVE TIME — Children danced with Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and Frosty while waiting to meet Santa Claus at the 41st annual Ray Laman Christmas Party Saturday at the Wintersville Fire Department. -- Warren Scott

It appeared The Grinch might make trouble, but Mrs. Claus had a talk with him, and the two hugged. Soon The Grinch appeared happy to greet the children, too.

Julia Martin held her 1-year-old son, Justice, as she watched her 4-year-old, Kyree, dance with Rudolph.

Martin, who also came with her 10-year-old daughter, Trinity, was looking forward to seeing Justice’s reaction to Santa. She noted he met Santa last year when he was just an infant.

Aiden McCartney, the 8-year-old grandson of Shawna Risden of Mingo Junction, was asked about his Christmas list.

Pausing for a moment, he replied there are many things on it, but at the top is a phone so he can call his friend.

Many parents commented they appreciate the efforts of the party’s organizers.

Damis said she’s enjoyed coordinating the event for more than 30 years but hopes to recruit new volunteers to keep it going into the future.

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