Huge crowd makes this year’s Christmas Kickoff the best yet |

Huge crowd makes this year’s Christmas Kickoff the best yet

by Rachel Spacek
10-year-old Aidan McLaughlin has a chat with Santa Thursday night at the Christmas kickoff.
Brad Coman |

A record-breaking crowd attended Gardnerville’s Christmas Kickoff and fireworks show on Thursday evening. A long line of children and their families threaded throughout Heritage Park to see Santa Claus, horse-drawn carriage rides and a shortage of both hot cider and hot cocoa.

Gardnerville Town Manager Tom Dallaire said this year’s event was by far the best so far. He said he had never seen Heritage Park so full, and from his view on stage he could see faces and heads filling up the park all the way to Gillman Avenue across the park. Dallaire said there may have even been people standing across the street for the fireworks show.

“Santa had quite a few visitors,” Dallaire said. “I heard the cobbler was good and I heard we ran out of both hot cocoa and hot cider.”

Cutter Barrier was one of the children waiting in line to see Santa along with his mother, Carrie Barrier. Carrie said this was their first year attending the Christmas kickoff and their goal was to bring Cutter to see Santa and the fireworks.

“It is really nice that a community has gotten together to put on an event like this for children and their families,” Barrier said.

The family said they were hoping to hop on a horse-drawn carriage ride, but the lines ended up being much longer than they anticipated.

Dallaire thanked the staff for putting on the event and Main Street Gardnerville for serving the Dutch oven cobbler, hot cocoa and hot cider. He said the fireworks show went on without incident and thanked Sharkeys, Bealls, Peri Enterprises and Gardnerville Health and Sanitation for sponsoring the fireworks.

The show kicked-off with a countdown and lighting of the Christmas tree in Heritage Park and then the lighting of the pavilion in the park. The Sierra Ringer’s bell choir began the evening’s performances with the “First Noel.” Performers also included the All About Dance Kids from All About Dance studio in Minden and the Joyful Noise Carson Children’s Choir, a children’s choir in Carson Valley for children ages 4-12.

A musical light show featuring “All I Want for Christmas,” was the last performance before the finale. Children were lofted onto their parents’ shoulder, and all eyes were turned to the sky to see Lantis Productions’ fireworks display.

“It was great to see how many people were there and how much work the whole staff put in from setting up the lights to serving the refreshments and organizing the program,” Dallaire said.

On Friday night Minden and Genoa held their celebrations.