Holiday fest showcases center


MIRAMAR--A choir sang Awesome God atop a stage next to the impressively lit facade of the city's new Town Center.

Meanwhile, thousands looked skyward as fireworks went off. And ecstatic children held out their tongues to catch snowflakes from snow-blowing machines.

The event -- the Holiday Illuminations and grand opening of the Miramar Town Center -- featured the lighting of the city's holiday tree, special shows, rides, live music, face painting, sand art and a visit from Santa Claus.

If it seemed there was a lot going on, that's because this year's event combined activities that normally had been scattered at various city parks.

"We wanted to bring everyone together to showcase the new Town Center, and from what we heard from residents, they were very pleased to see what their tax dollars are going for," said Nanci DeJesus, the city's special events coordinator. "Besides that, they had a great time."

DeJesus said about 8,000 turned out for the event. Cheryl McDonnough of North Lauderdale, who brought son Justin Abson, 1, came to see her niece, a student at Sea Castle Elementary, sing.

"It's very well organized and the new City Hall is really nice," McDonnough said. "My son [has been] having a great time."

Also enjoying the festivities was Kim Rozanski of Davie, who brought her children Erik, 2, and Emalee, 6 months.

"It's a great event to bring people together and for people to meet," she said. "With all of the lights and decorations, it really helps you get into the spirit of the holidays."

Lourdes Miranda of Pembroke Pines agreed.

"It was a fabulous event; the children loved it," she said.

The event gave her daughter Melissa, 10, who was born in New York, a chance to see snow again.

"When I was really little, I played in the snow, but I don't remember it that much," she said. "Tonight I got to slide down the snow hills and I got hit by snowballs, but it didn't hurt."

Alyssa Dixon, 7, of Miramar, emerged from a fenced-in area that contained mountains of manmade snow with her cheeks a rosy red.

"It felt really cold," she said. "I got to throw snowballs and they hit them back at me."

"I like throwing the snow," said Alyssa's sister Lauryn, 5. "I'd like to visit somewhere that has real snow, like where Santa lives."


(source) Sun Sentinel (Marcia Freidenreich) 1-05-05