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Festival helps Schriever ring in holidays

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The pair took time to visit with attendees in the gym before sitting down to take photos and hear children’s Christmas wishes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The pair took time to visit with attendees in the gym before sitting down to take photos and hear children’s Christmas wishes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Children ride ponies from Wishing Star Farms, while others wait their turn during the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The annual event, hosted by the 50th Force Support Squadron, also gave attendees the opportunity to play games, win prizes, eat lunch and have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Children ride ponies from Wishing Star Farms, while others wait their turn during the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The annual event, hosted by the 50th Force Support Squadron, also gave attendees the opportunity to play games, win prizes, eat lunch and have their picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Coleton Krause hugs Santa during the 2015 Holiday Fest at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. In addition to Santa, attendees also had the opportunity to visit with Mrs. Claus, some elves, Rudolph and Frosty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Coleton Krause hugs Santa during the 2015 Holiday Fest at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. In addition to Santa, attendees also had the opportunity to visit with Mrs. Claus, some elves, Rudolph and Frosty. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Attendees gather information from one of the sponsor tables at the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The Candy Land-themed event also included pony rides, games, food and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Attendees gather information from one of the sponsor tables at the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. The Candy Land-themed event also included pony rides, games, food and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Children play ski ball during the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Ski ball was one of the games available at the Candy Land-themed event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

Children play ski ball during the 2015 Holiday Fest Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. Ski ball was one of the games available at the Candy Land-themed event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Brian Hagberg)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The snow didn't start falling until later in the afternoon, but the spirit of the holiday was in the air here Dec. 5 during the 2015 Children's Holiday Fest.

Approximately 1,800 Team Schriever members attended the annual 50th Force Support Squadron event. The theme returned to Candy Land again this year following a brief hiatus to capitalize on the popularity of the Disney film "Frozen" last year.

"It was a great event," said Darcie Ibidapo, 50 FSS advertising and commercial sponsorship manager. "Everyone really enjoyed the games and the kids were really excited."

The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus spurred some of that excitement. Attendees lined up for photos with the couple as soon as the doors opened, more than an hour before their arrival.

"The holiday fest is a great event and Santa and I look forward to visiting Schriever from the North Pole every year," Mrs. Claus said. "We were able to meet with hundreds of children, many with some very unique gift ideas."

There was plenty to keep attendees occupied while they waited. Pony rides and bouncy houses were available, as were games, face painting and balloon animals.

At the end of the event, a drawing was held for prizes that included bikes with helmets, a tablet and an Xbox One with games.

"People were really excited about the chance to win an Xbox One and there were even some young kids who wanted to ride the bikes," Ibidapo said. "Overall, the event was a tremendous success and was thoroughly enjoyed by families."

Hosting the event wouldn't have been possible without the help of more than 80 volunteers.

"The volunteers are essential to the success of these base events," said Wayne Kingsbury, 50 FSS Manpower and Personnel Flight chief. "They help set-up and tear-down, work on our booths, serve food and lend a helping hand wherever we need one."

Kingsbury said volunteers were made up of personnel from 50th Space Wing units, the 19th Space Operations Squadron, key spouses and the American Red Cross--a true Team Schriever effort.

Mrs. Claus had a few reminders for Schriever children before departing the event.

"Don't forget to track Santa through NORAD on Christmas Eve," she said. "In the meantime, continue to be good for your parents and don't forget to leave out the cookies and milk for Santa and the carrots for the reindeer."
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