In Dumaguete, a longing for Christmas not to endBy Carine M. Asutilla
For children of Dumaguete City, there is no end to Christmas.
They are making the most of what remains of their holiday break to enjoy the rides at the carousel, ferris wheel, orbiter and bumper cars, and the crossbow target, water gun and other games at the Christmas Carnival in Freedom Park in Negros Oriental’s capital. They hope to bring home more toys and sweet treats as prizes.
“It’s a place for the children to have fun and for families and friends to bond,” said Dr. Nichol Elman, cochair of the “Pasko sa Kapitolyo” program of the province. The Christmas Carnival is part of the celebration.
Elman, who is also a staff member of the provincial tourism office, said it took them awhile to decide on the theme and concept of the celebration that aimed to attract foreign and local visitors. In the end, he said, the choices were scaled down to what the essence of Christmas was—children.
“It is the birth of the Holy Child Jesus, and children are the ones who really look forward to the celebration with gifts and vacations in mind,” Elman said.
Obviously, the children want to have fun this Christmas.
Provincial officials contacted Triple M, a private company, to set up the carnival rides, games and shows, as what it does all over the country. The firm agreed to remove the entrance fee and cut by half the ticket price of every ride, or only P30 per rider.
Array of sponsors
Schools, government and nongovernmental organizations were tapped to provide nightly entertainment at the park. Small businesses put up stalls offering cheap yet delicious local delicacies and home-cooked meals.
“The visitors and the families can enjoy different rides and games. If they get hungry, there are a lot of food available for them and they can have their dinner while watching live performances by talented Negrenses,” Elman said.
Colorful lights and lanterns hang in trees all over Freedom Park while a public sound system continuously plays Christmas carols.
A spiral 12-foot Christmas tree stands as the centerpiece. Both sides of the pathway are lighted by 5-foot candy canes.
The Christmas Carnival is open from 5 p.m. to midnight daily until Jan. 6, 2013.
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