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Monday, December 17, 2012


They came out early on Sunday, December 16 and then  they just kept coming and by the time the time  the Children’s Holiday Party was over  nearly 1000 people stopped by to enjoy  the  festivities of the day  at Monticello Raceway.

A special Sunday race card was added for the fourth annual Free Fabulous Holiday Party for the children which was sponsored by the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association and Monticello Raceway and Casino.

Children join Diablo and Bruce Aldrich Jr. after his win as they await Santa (Geri Schwartz Photo)
It all began with the Candy Cane Pace in race number two where a 100 or so children joined driver Bruce Aldrich, Jr. after he won the event with Diablo.  As the kids passed through the gate into the winners  circle raceway horsemen handed each a candy cane filled with M & M chocolates  as they awaited the arrival of Santa.  And they weren’t disappointed.

Santa Arrives (Geri Schwartz Photo)
When the grandstand loud speakers blurted  Gene Autry’s version of  ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ as the jolly ole gent made his way to the winners circle on a sulky pulled by a white  horse the children  began to cheer. Once there Santa greeted the children and then they all went upstairs to the third floor of the grandstand to partake in the activities of the special day.

Elvis’ Lost brother, Eric Bressi, who has volunteered his time each year the holiday party was presented,  did a tremendous job entertaining the multitude with songs made famous by the King of Rock N Roll and  he handled the master of ceremonies chores, the giveaways and the presentations masterfully. 

“According to Mrs. Dale Berensen, executive secretary of the horsemen’s association, this year’s crowd was the biggest yet.

“This the fourth year that we’ve had this day for the local children and each year the crowd size doubles. Kids, parents, grandparents and even great grandparents joined in the festivities.

“We gave away 13 bicycles and over 200 fabulous games much to the delight of the children. It was a wonderful fabulous day.”

“As we’ve done over the past few seasons the Sunday card was mainly for one specific purpose. We don’t usually race on Sunday afternoons but we add this special racing program so our horsemen can hold the Holiday Party for the children, ” noted Alan Schwartz, president of the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association.”

The party was for all children from toddler to 12 years of age was held on the third floor of the track’s grandstand. It was decorated to the nines, and to the delight of the children, the room was transformed into a wonderland North Pole.

Every child got a chance to visit with Santa and they had their photo taken with old St. Nick. And each received numerous presents. There were various games to play and everyone had a wonderful time.

There was also a petting zoo and face painting by a professional and of course 10 exciting harness races.