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Over 2,000 Crenshaw Residents Enjoy Holiday Fun in the Sun at the 3rd Annual Baldwin Hills Winter Wonderland Holiday Celebration
By By Shonassee Shaver, Staff Writer
Published December 14, 2017

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Rachel Freeman, Manager of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw welcome participants with the Black Santa Company and the legendary Black Santa of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw. (Photos courtesy of the city of Los Angeles)

The Christmas bash was a huge success for South L.A.’s youth. Doubling the turnout from it’s previous year, over 2,000 residents enjoyed themselves, celebrating the Christmas season at the 3rd Annual 2017 Winter Wonderland Holiday Celebration in the Crenshaw district, Saturday December 9 at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in hot and sunny L.A.

District 8th Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson hosted the annual affair and partnered with BHCP. The free event included its customary attractions of a 5 lane snow slide for sleigh riding, and a bed of 30×30 snow for snowball fights, located in the Sear’s parking lot. From snowmen, toy shop, s’mores bars, arts and craft, there was unlimited cheer and fun for children and their families to enjoy at the program. NBA All-Star Baron Davis and owner of The Black Santa Company appeared as a Black Santa mascot for the children’s delight, bringing live action heroes and role models to the Black community.

According to Councilman Harris-Dawson, the event exceeded their expectations. “It’s great to be here this year,” he states. “This year is even bigger, brighter, and there are more children, families’ community members here.” You see the smiles on their faces when they get a toy or get to have a snowball fight with their neighbors in 80-degree weather in Southern California, you just can’t beat it.”

The engagement didn’t stop there, as families lined up to takes photos in Santa’s chair.

The event continued to spread the cheer, by providing toy and gift card giveaways for the benefit of children and families from the neighborhood.

On the significance of Baldwin Hills Winter Wonderland, “I feel this is a blessing for everyone to come out and enjoy each other and get together for the holidays, I think it’s beautiful,” said L.A native, Elizabeth Cole.

“This is my second year and I think it’s a great event; it’s a wonderful amenity for the local community and my kids enjoy it,” stated a mother with her children. Her young daughter, Lindiwe was happy to share that she had been given a “Doc McStuffins” DVD.

(L-R): Crenshaw Elite Gospel Choir serenades the crowd with spiritual and holiday hymns; Saving Forever, rocking out on stage for the holidays; Retro holiday carolers, The Noelles bring back old school Christmas sound  (Photo courtesy of Ricky Richardson/eurweb.com)

The family-friendly extravaganza featured live musical entertainment from Crenshaw Gospel Choir, who performed spiritual and Christmas hymns, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and more.

The Gillespie Sisters and R&B soul singer Justin Sky performed several tunes for the audience. Chicago pop rock band, Saving Forever, lit the stage with “What Christmas Means to Me.” Made up of brothers (Khaden, Kye and Kavah Harris) the boy band showcased a collection of singles “Twenty 1,” “Million Ways,” “American Women” and “Hey Joe.”

Retro holiday carolers, called The Noelles served up joyful classics and modern favorites that ushered in a jubilant atmosphere of Christmas caroling from “Just Another Christmas Song,” Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “White Christmas.”

Kids from across South Los Angeles play in the snow play area at Winter Wonderland. (Photos courtesy of the city of Los Angeles)

The 2017 Winter Wonderland event promoted community engagement, bringing families together for a fun-filled day as Christmas approaches.

Harris-Dawson annual celebrations not only entertainment residents, but creates an environment to inspire positive imagery and experiences for young people living in their own community. He recalls once being a kid, that events such as Winter Wonderland are where memories are made that last a lifetime. Harris-Dawson further highlights events such as this, reflects how residents see their neighbors, neighborhood and themselves.

An advocate for South Los Angeles, Harris-Dawson serves the community, especially during this season. He seeks to bring locals together, uplifting and generating growth socially and economically.

Aside from this joyous occasion, Councilman Harris-Dawson has been at work to combat the influx of homelessness in L.A.

“We’ve settled on a policy, and the voters have backed us up on this. Our goal is to house the homeless. There is always an instinct to get rid of them camping out and around Los Angeles, but what’s important is to get them living in houses. That’s the kind of civilization that we have, the kind we demand and the kind we are going to get in Los Angeles,” he affirms.

Councilman Harris-Dawson looks to increase the level of housing and jobs in Los Angeles in the up-and-coming year. “We want to make sure jobs go to people in our community,” he states.

Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and his wife Karrie snap a quick photo; Councilmember Harris-Dawson meets with the talented, young artists of Saving Forever (Photos courtesy of the city of Los Angeles)

Rachel Freeman, Manager of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw welcomed the Crenshaw community while acknowledging the sponsors and volunteers for their support and contributions to the whimsical affair.
Sheltering Partners, Disney, and Mega Toys, Winter Wonderland donated toys and gifts to children. LADOT Transit supported the carnival and McDonald’s participated, with coupon giveaways. Metro Kidz Los Angeles took part in the festivities interacting with kids and handing out prizes.

Tammi Mac from KJLH’s radio free 102.3FM emceed the Holiday Celebration along with disc jockey Bobo from the “Steve Harvey Morning Show”. Both Mac and Bobo kept the Christmas spirit alive, hyping up the audience as they handed out donations to the community. DJ Chris Breezy kept the music flowing throughout the event for festival goers.

Categories: Crenshaw & Around | Local | Political
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