OVERTON, Nevada (STPNS) -- Oh Boy! What a neat assignment!  Gotta be on time!  Grab the camera, the paper and pen....how many people get the opportunity to interview Santa?

He?s always interviewing everyone....and now it was my chance!  But, wait.   I?m getting ahead of myself....there?s a whole ?nother side to the story....six days to be exact......

It all began on Monday, November 27, at the Old Logandale School. OLSHACS presented its 7th Annual Festival of Trees and the First Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. As I walked into the main room of the Old Logandale School, my sight and senses were awed by the beauty of the lavishly decorated and brilliantly lit trees, the wreaths that were hung with care and the table that was laden with gifts of all sizes and shapes.  



Soon we were hustled out into the dark, cool and windy night, where the lilting voices of the Zephyr Singers urged us forward.   They sang the carols we have come to know and love. These wonderful musicians sing acappella highlighting the simplicity and beauty of the music.

To the beautiful melody of ?O Tannenbaum?, the black of night was lit with hundreds of lights as  the first Valley Community Christmas Tree was lit by Logandale resident and former Old Logandale School Principal (1953-1961), Charles Pulsipher.   This living Christmas tree, the newest addition to the Old School?s grounds, was donated by Omega Vista Development Company.  To mark this occasion, a time capsule was laid to rest at the foot of the tree. It will be dug up in 10 years when it will reveal its contents including, among other things  Moapa Valley Progress articles, a local phone book, a menu from Sugars, a Bowler Elementary T-shirt, the Perkins Elementary paper and pictures, and a Pirate flag.

As friends drew around, old stories were told and laughter was shared.  There was a tale of a daring escapade.  The names Cottam, Robison, Tobiasson, Whipple and Whitney (the first names are eliminated to protect the guilty) came up as a group of  instigators.  It seems these students went on a bird-watching field trip and quietly hurried back to the school.   As the day progressed, Mr. Pulsipher was inundated with requests for supplies held within his desk?s drawers. He finally opened the ?right? drawer and out crawled a snake (brought back from the day?s trip)!  The warmth of friendship and love filled the area as old students and friends of Mr. Pulsipher and each other came around and shared a moment in time.

We entered the school again to view the many prizes offered in a raffle. This year, participants were given the opportunity to buy raffle tickets and put them in the box(es) for the item(s) they hoped to win.    

There were so many wonderful trees and trinkets donated by businesses and individuals.....the second grade class of Bowler Elementary School donated a tree decorated with fishnet and shells, there was a ?Tinker toy Tree? for our feathered friends (Pat Grow and Maggie Gepseal); a Bird?s Eye Christmas Tree made of Peacock Feathers (Hollinger Homestead); the Robison children decorated a popsicle stick tree.  

There was a wonderful Stocking Card Holder (Susie Fly) and ornaments galore - Santa Band (Georgia Hall), Jolly Snowmen (Lois Hall); fruit baskets from Lin?s and wreaths too numerous to imagine. There was a ?Toyland Tree?  from Mesa View Hospital and a ?Pinecone Delight? tree from the Lost City Museum Docent Council.

Soon the viewers were treated to hot chocolate and cookies (from Lin?s) served by the Moapa Valley High School Culinary Class.

Each day for the remainder of the week, something different was going on at the Old Logandale School. Entertainment included the Zephyr Consort, Moapa Valley High School Encore Singers, Moapa Valley Community Orchestra, MV Children?s Choir. Something for everyone.

Free classes and workshops were offered each night. Participants learned to make Tree Ornaments, Snowflake Ornaments, Quilling or Gifts In Jar.  There were special classes for the younger set....Candy Cane Creations and Card Making.  Trish Delk of Logandale came by to present a demonstration of ?Christmas With A Flair.?   Trish speaks with a lot of knowledge as she worked for many years for Ralph Jones Display and decorated Casinos and High-End Residential areas.  

Now all of these entertaining and fun classes meant that the participants had to keep the juices up........so off to the High School Culinary Classes Demonstrations in the kitchen. There were Howdy Doody Haystacks, Ginger Applesauce Pancakes, ?Not Yo? Mama?s Banana Pudding,? the finger cream puffs of Houston Costa and the Norwegian Serina Cakes of Jennifer Jack and Jonathan Xia.  There was the ?Kickin? Cowboy Coco? of Krysta Millington and Whitney Leonard and a traditional Christmas dinner presented by Sierra Saunders (with a little help from her family)......and, need we forget? . . . Caribou Stew, a recipe Tashina Worthington got from her Aunt, a Yup?ik Eskimo from Alaska.  

Mary Bullock, the teacher of these gifted students, said, ?I have been very proud of the class members as they threw themselves into creating a generous spirit!?  

Just as the moment became very tearful, several youngsters, eyes all aglow and with grins from ear to ear burst into the room and whispered.....?HE?S HERE!?  We all ran into the outer room to greet the guest of honor.....Santa Claus.  He was so jolly in red and white.

Caring and attentive to all who came to talk with him.  And the love for this visitor was so evident when three-year-old Dillan Combs left Santa?s lap, started down the steps, hesitated, ran back, threw his arms around the dear man and whispered, ?I Love You Santa!?

Well, that was a hard act to follow....but I was on a mission and climbed up on Santa?s lap, to better interview him....you understand.  I asked the gentleman what he would like all the young at heart to know, and he said, with a twinkle in his eye, ?I?m watching everything they do.   And I?ve got a list and I?m checking it twice.  So be sure you go to bed early on Christmas Eve and I will come to visit each and everyone.?

This wonderful six days of Christmas Celebration was made possible by the volunteerism of the community members and donations of the businesses and individuals and of the love and work of the OLSHACS personnel under the direction of President, Beezy Tobiasson, Committee Chairperson, Georgia Hall, and Festival of Trees Committee members: Stacy DuPee, Lois Hall, Kristy Robison and Pam Toulouse.

I join with the Zephyr Singers in ?Wishing you a Merry Christmas? and rest assured ?The Sky Is the Limit!?