By Wendi Reardon Price
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Independence Township — S’mores, hot chocolate, free crafts for kids and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus are just a few of the exciting things to look forward to at Christmas at the Farm at the Clarkston Family Farm this Saturday, 4 – 7 p.m.
“Each year just gets a little bit better,” said Chelsea O’Brien, founder and executive director of the farm. “Of course Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a special arrival via tractor ride. They are coming and will be in the greenhouse.”
The greenhouse will also have 20 vendors for people can get a little holiday shopping done.
“We have improved and expanded spaces so we have twice the number of vendors we had from last year,” said O’Brien.
The greenhouse will also have six different crafts and 12 different activities available.
O’Brien added new this year are reindeer.
“We have two mini horses, and we have the cutest reindeer costumes for them,” she shared. “This year we are having a reindeer run. You can trot around a reindeer in a area where we have our ponies.”
Also new this year is a visit from Buddy the Elf.
“We are doing a Christmas tree decorating lighting ceremony with Buddy the Elf,” O’Brien said. “It’s called What’s Your Favorite Color with Buddy the Elf. The kids get to pick out their favorite color ornament and get to help decorate our giant Christmas tree that we will have in our art barn.”
Activities throughout the evening also include live music, food trucks, hay rides and of course visiting with the farm animals.
This is the third time they have held Christmas at the Farm with their first in 2019 and again in 2021. Being able to have it is special for O’Brien.
“I always hoped our farm could be an integral part of the blessings we can offer to the kids in Clarkston,” she said. “I always wanted it to be one of the things you think of when you think of Clarkston, when you think of kids, when you think of family, when you think of good food and healthy living. I wanted it to really be an important part of the fabric of our community.
“I never thought we would be this vibrant,” O’Brien continued. “The farm is just thriving. To be able to offer an event like this and have thousands of people want come it just really warms my heart. It makes me feel so grateful and so proud of what we have built together as a community because our farm wasn’t even here five years ago. I can put on an event and have thousands of people want to come and have all these different elements that are going to create beautiful rich memories for families that they will look back on and smile. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. It’s gratitude. It’s joy. It’s pride.”
O’Brien added the event is free but they do have pre-registration this year and they had over 1,200 registered.
“I know there will be people who just come,” she said. “There will be so many people. It will be fabulous.”
During the weekend, the Holiday Harvest Gift Baskets will also be delivered which is filled with donations from local farmers, vendors and businesses.
“This year we will be able to serve over 70 families,” O’Brien said. “One of the most important things about Christmas is giving. We wanted to embody that, exemplify that and teach that to the kids we work with. We are an educational farm for kids. So, we have a responsibility I think not only to teach kids about how to grow healthy food, how to work together and how to connect with nature but also can teach them kindness and teach them generosity.”
For more information or to pre-register, please visit Clarkston Family Farm on Facebook, on Instagram or on www.clarkstonfamilyfarm.com.
Clarkston Family Farm is located at 6800 Hubbard Road.
PHOTO: From left, Kendall Lozzi, Drew Lozzi, Aiden O’Brien, Thomas Rumstadt and Maria Scalzi with their “reindeer” pony friends. Photo: Provided by Chelsea O’Brien