Senior Days at Winter Wonderland Dec. 18-20

Seniors 60+ get in free; Commissioners to hand out candy Dec. 18-19

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The Winter Wonderland Christmas Light Display at Sportsman Lake Park will be free for seniors 60 and older Dec. 18-20 from 5-10 p.m. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With senior centers remaining closed across the state, the Cullman County Commission and Cullman County Commission on Aging have been busy organizing a special COVID-19 guideline-compliant weekend. Next Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18-20, admission will be waived for those 60 and older to the Sportsman Lake Park Winter Wonderland. Seniors will also receive some extra goodies.

“The whole thought behind Senior Days at Winter Wonderland is because we have had some issues not being able to have the (annual) Christmas party,” said Commission on Aging Director Dusty Baker. “Last year we weren’t able to have the Christmas party because we didn’t have a venue big enough to do it when the City sold the civic center. This year, we were totally planning on having a Christmas party and then COVID hit.”

Baker said he and those helping organize the Christmas party began brainstorming to find safe alternatives. The annual Winter Wonderland was an opportunity nearby that met all the requirements, he said: It provides a safe alternative to large gatherings, combats isolation during the holiday season safely, incentivizes families to spend time together within their own social bubbles and shows seniors we love them.

The idea came to fruition in large part due to the support and cooperation from Cullman County Parks and Recreation, which manages Sportsman Lake Park.

Said Baker, “They have been wonderful in working with us and trying to help us to make this happen. They have been instrumental in that.”

Once word spread, the community began reaching out to help. The Cullman County Commission and Ms. Senior Alabama Phyllis Hain came on board to be a part of the special weekend. The Commission on Aging staff has been busy filling candy bags and gathering other goodies for the seniors with the money donated by the Commission and Hain.

Other sponsors include Byars-Wright Insurance, Freedom Insurance- Gloria Williams, Drinkard Development, First Baptist Church of Cullman and the City of Cullman.

Baker added, “It seems like as people find out about it, more people call and offer to help.”

Senior Days at Winter Wonderland will be Friday-Sunday, Dec. 18-20 from 5-10 p.m. Sportsman Lake Park is located at 1544 Sportsman Lake Road NW in Cullman. The Winter Wonderland is a drive-thru Christmas light event. Cullman County Commissioners will be on-hand Friday and Saturday night to pass out candy.

Baker is hopeful that area seniors will come out and enjoy the Christmas lights with their families. He said the goal is “to spread joy and love during this holiday season” and (referencing the movie “Elf”) smiled, “make Santa’s sleigh fly!”

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