By: Ashley Waitkus | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2018
Picture from left to right are City Manager Jim Thomas, Tanya Andrews, Pelco Structural driver Joe, Kathy Thomas, Public Works Administrator with City of Claremore Jonah Humes, Lisa Rogers, employees of City of Miami Electric Department, and 2 OHP officers that helped escort the tree to Claremore.
Traveling over 1,000 miles to Michigan and back for a 55 foot fresh Christmas tree, Visit Claremore goes to great distances to make sure the annual West Bend Winterland provides an incredible, memory-making experience for families.
Now in it’s second year, West Bend Winterland is the newest family Christmas tradition in Rogers County. Located on the West Bend Green of the Claremore Expo, Winterland will be open every Friday and Saturday from November 30th through December 22nd.
New this year is themed weekends. The season will start on November 26th at 6 pm with the tree lighting ceremony entertainment by RSU’s Choir, and the Cherokee National Youth Choir, and food trucks. Each weekend after the 26th will have a theme:
Christmas shop while supporting local artists and vendors during Christmas Bazaar weekend. Make and Take crafts will be available for children.
Jump and slide and climb on all the inflatables for all ages at the Inflatable Village during the second weekend.
Come out December 14th and 15th for the Christmas Carnival. Described as a traditional carnival with a “Christmas twist”, this weekend will even include a carnival ride called “Tubs of Fun”.
The final weekend, “All Things Christmas” will include Thursday, December 20th. Santa, Christmas movies, and more crafts will fill this weekend.
Train rides and ice skating will be available every weekend, and local organizations will be hosting concessions throughout.
After the incredible four weekends of family fun, families can celebrate New Year's Eve, enjoying fireworks, a cider toast, DJ, smores, and games from 7-10 pm without keeping their little ones out until midnight.
Marketing Manager, Lisa Rogers, states they “wanted local and surrounding communities to have memory making and affordable family activities”. Creating holiday traditions for families has been the motivator, not just for Visit Claremore, but also for sponsors of the event, including Baker Hughes, a GE Company, RCB Bank, GRDA, BancFirst, Ira Green Construction, Pelco Structural, and others. This event is so important to the Claremore community, Pelco Structural even makes the drive all the way to Michigan for the live tree.
Ashley Waitkus is a former mental health counselor and minister who has served in high trauma, high crisis environments for over 12 years. She has a Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy; her passions include helping people heal, bringing others into a relationship with Christ, and attending festivals with her daughter.
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