Taylorsville celebrates diversity with ‘Christmas Around the World’ celebration
Dec 11, 2018 10:56AM
● By Carl Fauver
This year’s “Christmas Around the World” celebratio featured much more than just light refreshments and photos with Santa. (Taylorsville Heritage Preservation Committee)
A seasonal Taylorsville event will be “supersized,” when the annual “Saturday with Santa” morphs into much, much more. The popular event has previously been hosted by just one committee. But this year, the Historic Preservation Committee is receiving assistance from two others.
The newly retitled event is being called “Christmas Around the World.”
“I took my kids to ‘Saturday with Santa’ last year — before I became a city council person — and it was fun but seemed to be a little short on things for children to do,” said first-year councilwoman Meredith Harker. “The kids all said ‘hi’ to Santa, and we enjoyed some cocoa, but it just seemed like the day could include more.”
Soon after being sworn in as a council member, Harker was assigned to assist both the Historical Preservation and Parks and Recreation committees. She ran the idea by both committees of possibly growing “Saturday with Santa” into something more and received positive feedback.
“Saturday with Santa is one of our most cherished traditions, so changing it took a little consideration,” said former Historic Preservation Committee Chairwoman Connie Taney. “But as we discussed ideas about making it different, we decided it sounded like something people would like. So, our committee got on board.”
Then somewhere in the mix, a third Taylorsville community volunteer committee jumped into the act as well. With another first-year councilman, Curt Cochran, as their liaison, the city’s first new committee in several years approached the group to see how they could lend a hand as well.
“This will be the first big event for the new Cultural Diversity Committee,” Cochran said. “They came in with a lot of big ideas. I know they are going to provide a variety of Latino foods and musical groups. The committee is looking forward to it.”
Now the busy two-hour event from 2 to 4 p.m. in Saturday, Dec. 8 will include crafts for children to make and take home, games, several performing choirs, food common to many different countries and even a live Nativity scene visitors can join.
“Families will take turns putting on Nativity costumes while adults narrate,” said new Historic Preservation Committee Chairwoman Susan Yadeskie. “They can pose for pictures. That, along with a couple of the games, will be outside on the Taylorsville-Bennion Heritage Museum lawn. We are hoping for good weather, but people should dress appropriately.”
This summer Yadeskie became only the third chairperson the Historic Preservation Committee has had, since it was created in 2002. With her family ties to the historic home that now houses the heritage museum, Taney has served as chairwoman most of those 16 years. But she chose to leave the position because other committee duties are beginning to create a big load.
“We launched a museum Facebook page this year, and people have been sending me so many photographs,” Taney said. “And I also promised to write up the history of our Historic Preservation Committee. With all that going on, I talked Susan into becoming the chairperson.”
In her first official committee report to the city council, Yadeskie said 2018 has been another successful year.
“Our committee has grown dramatically this year, and people are working hard on it,” she told the council. “We received another $3,500 Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax grant from the county. We always use these funds to pay for busses in the spring when school kids from all over Taylorsville come to tour the museum and have picnic lunches.”
At that point, Harker (who is also an elementary school teacher) interjected, “It is always my kids’ favorite field trip of the year.”
One of those new Historic Preservation Committee members is Wendy Cochran, the wife of city councilman Curt Cochran.
“I grew up along 4800 South and love the old homes on that street,” Wendy said. “I knew Connie (Taney) growing up, as well as the Jones family. I often played in that house. I like playing a part in preserving our history. I am really excited to assist with ‘Christmas Around the World’ to help bring our community together. There’s no place like home.”
Yadeskie, Taney and Wendy Cochran are three of now 13 active Historic Preservation Committee members, a big jump from a year ago. They all agree that “Christmas Around the World” will be more extravagant than ever before, but Jolly Old St. Nick will still be the star of the show.
“Santa Claus will be back in our dairy store next to the museum,” Taney said. “And we will still serve hot drinks. The traditions of ‘Saturday with Santa’ will live on. But all three committees hope the new things we are adding will prompt even more families to make this a part of their holiday tradition.”