Santa’s Workshop in Ardmore Regional Park opened for business this weekend.
Visitors who came to see the Festival of Lights could bring their kids to the workshop for photos with Santa, arts and crafts and plenty of snacks.
Kids could use stickers to make their own cards, make sand art necklaces shaped like Christmas trees and make ornaments out of felt. Kids were also encouraged to write letters to Santa. An “elf” came by to collect the letters every now and then, run them to the North Pole, and return with official certificates for children on the “nice” list (all of them).
Parks and Recreation director Teresa Ervin said the workshop has opened its doors in December for roughly a decade.
“My favorite part is meeting all the people that come from near and far to see the lights,” Ervin said. “Many of them come on this weekend because of Santa’s Workshop, so we see some old friends every year. We’ve had visitors from Nebraska, Texas, Ohio, and all over.”       
Families could also take photos in the photo booth.
Teenage volunteers from area schools helped the night go smoothly. On Saturday night, Southern Oklahoma Technology Center and the Wilson Boys and Girls Club were volunteering.
Juan Gemmell and Shane Self heard about the event through the Wilson Boys and Girls Club and decided to volunteer for the night.
“I came here a lot when I was younger, so it’s nice to help younger kids get into the holiday spirit,” Gemmell said.
A wire cage used for storage became an igloo and a starry night backdrop hid the rest of the equipment from view. Supervisor Tes Stewart said setup for the workshop was a mad dash for the staff to turn their shop, which usually stores the department’s heavy equipment, into something a little more festive.
“Our guys use this to store their lawnmowers, we’re still mowing, we’re still working, so really this came to life on Thursday and Friday,” Stewart said. “We baked all of the homemade goodies. We all came together and worked hard, and it works.”