Clifton’s Candyland Spreads Excitement for the Holiday Season


As the Christmas season is quickly approaching, the hardworking community at the Clifton Recreation Center were able to create an unforgettable experience for children and adults alike on Saturday, December 9, and they certainly did not disappoint.

After registering and getting an admission wristband from the staff at the registration booth, there were an abundance of fun stations and rides to enjoy, which could be easily navigated through the complimentary map given at the booth.

The Santa Express, which was a train ride driven all around City Hall by staff, was definitely a crowd favorite, and the lines were filled throughout the whole night with excited children and parents.

After a joyful ride on the Santa Express, you could head to the Letters to Santa station in the Flag Barn, where volunteers helped participants write their wish lists to Santa to send to his special mailbox. Letter writers can expect to receive a reply from Santa this holiday season.

For those who really wanted to get those creative juices flowing, visiting the Craft Corner in the Adult Opportunity Center to decorate select wooden stencils with paint was just the place for you. Volunteers spread out dozens of creative designs and a large variety of paints so you could paint to your heart's content. Although many of the painters through the night consisted of children, parents and other adults were also eager to join in on the festive decorating.

Just when you needed to re-energize and warm yourself up for all the other stations ahead, the Snack Shack and Cozy Corner had you covered. Selling many delicious foods like hotdogs and empanadas, the Snack Shack made it hard to resist seconds, while the fire pits and free marshmallows were too inviting to pass up. It was a perfect spot for a nice and calming time to rewind with family and friends.

After the Snack Shack and Cozy Corner energy boost, participants could head right across the street to the Elves’ Play Station and the Reindeer Flight School to play some fun carnival-inspired games. There were even amusement rides like blowup slides, bouncy houses, and a swing ride! Children were excitedly lining up with glee to slide, bounce, and win some fun prizes.

If all of that still wasn’t enough to keep little hands busy, children (and grown-ups) could join the lovely volunteers at the Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt station. Here, participants were given flashlights to search around the grassy area for as many candy canes as they could find. Candy-seekers were allowed to keep their sweet findings.

To end the night, families were invited to visit Santaland in the Clifton Arts Center and to meet Father Christmas himself and take pictures with the jolly icon. Children and adults alike were excited to create and capture lasting memories in this wonderful event. Hardworking volunteers like Dariana Delgado said, “The Key Club events definitely put you to work, but seeing the families enjoy themselves is almost like a reward.”

The 2023 Candyland Festival was a great opportunity to reconnect with family and friends for the holiday season in a fun and engaging way. A special thanks has to go to the Clifton Office of Emergency Management, Avenue of Flags, Clifton CERT Team, Clifton Adult Opportunity Center, Clifton Arts Center & Sculpture Park, Clifton Health Department, The Lester Herrschaft Center, the CHS Madrigals, CHS Key Club, CHS JROTC, JC Promotions, Gerry D’s Catering, Made in Miami Bar & Bistro, the Clifton Board of Recreation, and the City of Clifton Mayor and Council for making this night one to remember. 

If you were not able to attend the Candyland Festival this year, please look out for other local events coming up, like the Grinch Movie Night at CHS, and when Candyland 2024 eventually rolls around next year, we hope to see you there!

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