PENDLETON — Whether it was their first time or part of family tradition, visitors to Christmas in Pendleton on Saturday shared similar thoughts of the holiday celebration.
“It is amazing. I love it, it’s very cute,” said Paige Moormann of Noblesville.
She came to Pendleton for the annual celebration for the first time — dressed as Mrs. Claus in cosplay fashion — with her cousin and grandmother.
Grace Closser, a Markleville resident who said she grew up in Pendleton and has attended the event “10 to 15 times,” this year brought her daughter, 10-month-old Whitleigh.
“It’s just a fun time, feel-good times,” she said. “It’s so nice to be out in the weather.”
Christmas in Pendleton is a Pendleton Business Association event that offers a variety of family activities inside and out, as well as opportunities to shop at vendors and local businesses.
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It seemed all the festival areas — from downtown through Falls Park — were busy throughout the event, which officially ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The sidewalks and vendor areas were busy all day, with the sides of State Street becoming packed with people for the 1 p.m. parade.
Gallery 119 — home to Pendleton Artists Society and a site for crafts and visits with Santa — had counted on a clicker almost 1,000 visitors by noon.
Karen Vasquez, a lifelong Pendleton resident who only started coming to the event last year after she had grandchildren, said it seems like the event is popular.
“I love it, I love Pendleton,” she said. “It seems like everyone comes out, everybody shows up. It seems like a small town, but there are so many people here.”
Eric Waddell, who lives in Los Angeles, came out with his mom Marvene of Noblesville.
“I love it. It’s really nice,” Eric said, shortly after buying a Santa saltshaker as a gift for someone back home.
“I love it, too,” Marvene added.
“Lots of families and lots of fun,” Eric said.
“There’s a really nice variety of things to look at and things to buy,” Marvene said.
Jeremy Cummings of Fortville said he was having a good time and appreciates what Pendleton has to offer.
“You guys always have cool parades and gatherings around here. Good community vibes,” Cummings said.
Jo Ella MacKool said she likes how businesses and organizations work together to make things free of charge “for families to enjoy.
“We’re blessed to live in this little town,” she said.
Event organizer Niki Brown said her observations and feedback indicate it was a success.
She said she heard from several local businesses, all of whom said they did great business.
One State Street business posted on Facebook that it had record sales, Brown said.
“Our food vendors, several of them sold out, had to close early,” Brown said. And, “all of the vendors I spoke to did very well with their products.”
She said there are still some numbers to gather and analyze to come up with a total visitor count, but the number of visitors counted at the play area in Falls Park was about 3,000.
“We had great weather on Saturday,” Brown said. “I think that helped bring people out.”