Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Comes to Val Vista Village

Friday was our annual Christmas parade here at Val Vista Village. The cool weather got us all in the Christmas spirit - it was in the low 50's to upper 40's. Hey - that's cold for Arizona!

We lined up down Park Ave in anticipation of the parade. Anyone could be in the parade. If you decorated your golf cart, for instance.

Or perhaps your bike......

Maybe you had a motorcycle built for two:

Let's zoom in on his passenger; he looks a little like a hairy elf!

We were entertained by music from the Kitchen Band, a group of people who play objects found in the kitchen, sprinkled among some real instruments. They blow on funnels, bang pots, spoons, etc.

A group of line dancers performed to a Christmas song. They all appear to be in step!

That's Margaret, in the center of the front row. She's the line dance teacher. Free line dancing every Thursday night here in the park.

We had some kayakers who were "high and dry"! I would say this was the most original entry in the parade!

This Motorcycle Mama is Bernice, who turned 95 years old last June. She is a real sweetheart.

Here's who we all were waiting for! Santa Claus!

When the parade was over, we all gathered inside for a sit down dinner of chili in a bread bowl, bread pudding, and vegetables/dip. Here our food servers are just waiting to be of service.

Bernice walked around to each table, beaming from ear to ear, showing everyone her sash and tiara. She was "Miss Val Vista" and proud of it!

Our entertainment of the evening were some children from the Sunshine Acres Children's Home from Mesa, Arizona. "Sunshine Acres generally admits children from families who are experiencing:

- Homelessness
- Chronic or terminal health concerns
- Incarceration
- Drug or Alcohol challenges or rehabilitation
- Difficulties meeting the needs of their adoptive child
- Challenges with a kins(hip placement (children currently living with a relative other than birth parents)

Sunshine Acres is a long term residential home. Initial placement is a minimum of 12 months. Once admitted, a child may stay as long as needed, even into early adulthood (college)."

The kids sang and danced. Their last song was "Silent Night", which they sang a cappella. After a few verses, their choir director motioned with her hands for the audience to join in with the kids. There was probably 200 people in the audience. Everyone joined in singing. It was an emotional moment. Then the minister of Sunshine Acres said a few words and said that some of the kids wanted to say some things.

One girl came up to the mike and said, "I just want to say that Sunshine Acres is the greatest! Every day I wake up and I am so happy I am there!" My eyes filled up with tears, and I looked around me and saw many others with wet eyes, too. I wondered what this little girl's home life was like if she loved the orphanage so much. It sure gave me pause. That little boy in the picture is only five. How sad to be so little and have your life already so hard. But Sunshine Acres sounds like a great place. You can read more about it here.

Santa came up on stage and distributed gifts to any kids who sat on his lap. It was a wonderful evening. Afterwards we walked over to a friend's place and had a nightcap of rum/eggnog. A good time was had by all.


Rae said...

OMG That is a fantastic parade. It looks like so much fun. I love the high and dry kayakers. Those are some pretty clever and creative neighbors you have.

SJ said...

every1 looks great in red!

A smile from SJ =)

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

How fun! That does look like the best place..those kids were right!!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Well I am filled with mixed emotions. I start with the heart-warming description of the children from the temporary orphanage. How wonderful that you include them.

You guys seem to be having way too much fun down there. Loved the hairy elf - but the couple who were high and dry in their canoes were the best!! Surely there must be some drinking going on before that wild parade starts!

Pat said...

In the list of reasons why Sunshine Acres might take a child, the 6th one SHOULD read:

- Challenges with a kinship placement (children currently living with a relative other than birth parents)

I don't know how that got screwed up since I copied it right from their website!

wenn said...

wow..nice to meet santa clause..

Sunny said...

What a fun parade. A great feeling of Christmas and community.
Sunny :)

Brian Miller said...

what a cool parade...i like the canoes! and that little girl...gave me tears as well...

Meeko Fabulous said...

Thanks for sharing! Sounds like an awesome weekend! :)

Snowflake said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful kickoff to Christmas!! Loved the photos of the parade and Bernice, she is quite a gal!!
Having the children from the orphanage entertain was a great idea, there is nothing sweeter than children singing Christmas carols.... so sad to imagine the experiences each of those children have had to deal with in their short lives!!

Carly said...

Looks like a fun parade. I love the variety of entries. We had the annual Christmas parade last weekend, but it was raining so I didn't go. Seeing your pictures makes me a little sad I missed it.

otin said...

That looks great! We have a floatilla parade here where everyone decorates their boats.

Nancy said...

Sounds great. Loved the "kayack float", and the Sunshine Children's Home, of course. I agree - what had that child experienced before arriving at a children's home? And how many more do we need?

Nancy said...

Whoops - i meant Sunshine Acres - my bad.

WhisperingWriter said...

What an awesome parade!

SquirrelQueen said...

What a wonderful parade, the entries were all great. The children are so sweet, it had to be emotional. I also wonder what kind of a home life a child could have had to be so happy not to be there anymore.

Chatty Crone said...

Looks like you are having a good time and enjoying life!

Betty said...

Looks like a terrific parade!
So much fun , Pat. I love it

Missy said...

This looks like so much fun! LOL

Allen said...

My father has an old Model A, Ford that he dresses up and drives in parades. He loves doing it. Your parade looks like fun too. Sounds like you made a day of it.

I hear its cold there today. sorry to hear that. hehe


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

No one can decorate a golf cart like those retirees! Very impressive!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

What a wonderful post! I loved your photos - it was almost like being there. Sunshine Acres sounds like a great place - much better than the alternatives, I guess.

It's very sad to think of the number of homeless and hungry children in the United States.