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It was perhaps the tiniest bundle Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus could have held when Ryan Fluet handed son Easton over to the jolly old couple at Saturday’s Candyland Christmas in Historic Downtown Wilson.
The 1-week-old joined his older brother, R.J., age 2, for a sit on the laps of both Santa and Sarah Claus at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park along with several hundred other community children who took a turn as well.
The Fluet family has only lived in Wilson for just over a year and found the event welcoming.
It was similar scenario as night fell and Robbin Narron of Wilson carried her 14-month-old son, Henry, down a snow-covered hill.
“It’s his first time sledding,” the mother said.
“It was pretty fun. It’s not as easy as it looks holding onto a baby and sledding at the same time,” Narron said.
A couple of hundred parents and their children hopped on disks to slide down two short ramps.
“We loved it,” said Leslie Mooring, who rode down with son Kyshaun, 4.
“This is the first year that they did this. It’s something that the community really needed,” Mooring said.
“I think it’s fun,” said Jaci Oglesby of Wilson, who rode down the slide with daughter Alice, 2.
“It’s different than what we’re used to. We’re from the beach” Oglesby said.
Another precious bundle was 6-month-old Gracie Eason as she sat on grandfather Chris Saunders’ shoulders joining attendees at the Wilson County Courthouse for the officials Christmas tree lighting.
“As far as events like this for the community, I really think that this is a great thing that we can do to bring the community together. I would like to see a lot more of it,” Fluet said. “Being newcomers, we just moved down here a year and a half ago, so the more opportunity we have like this to get out and be a part of the community, definitely appreciate.”
“To have something different for the kids to do to learn that there’s other people in the community,” Fluet said. “We want to be a big melting pot and have that opportunity to meet kids his age and our younger son’s age, and we just like to be out and about.”
The sledding capped off a full day of activities throughout the downtown area with wagon and carnival rides, shopping, food trucks and other Christmas fun.
Henry Walston, an advocate for downtown Wilson’s revitalization, said the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park and the downtown are really starting to shine.
“I think we are having more and varied events out here, which brings more and varied events out here.” Walston said.
“We built the park to save Vollis’ whirligigs, but we also built the park so we would have a community living room that people could gather in and enjoy themselves and attend events, and also people from out of town could come and see what was going on in historic downtown Wilson, and I think we have accomplished that to a large extent, and it will continue to grow and get better.”
Candyland Christmas was organized by Wilson Downtown Development and sponsored by Greenlight Community Broadband and Wilson Energy.