Lighting of the Landing, Barefoot Landing

Fireworks, a carousel, two singers, a donkey, mascot-reindeer, funhouse mirrors, and Santa…what more do you need to start the holiday season?

Kelly, Hannah, and Karen at the Barefoot Landing Tree Lighting in North Myrtle Beach, SC

Kelly, Hannah, and Karen at the Barefoot Landing Tree Lighting in North Myrtle Beach, SC

Kelly, my husband, my six-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I arrived about 20 minutes early to the Lighting of the Landing at Barefoot Landing on a 32 degree Fahrenheit night.  Barefoot Landing consists of shopping and dining on a wooden boardwalk surrounding a lake and nestled next to the Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach.  I had been to the Lighting of the Landing the previous year so I walked everyone towards the carousel where there would be free rides and pictures with Santa.  As we got close we heard children’s voices dis-jointly singing “The 12 Days of Christmas.” A semi-circle of parents and children (apparently chosen at random) were holding up laminated cards and singing/saying “Six Swans a Swimming….Five Golden Rings…..Two Turtle Doves…and a Partridge in a Pear Tree” as the song leader, a man in a long black coat and red scarf, pointed the microphone at them.  Once all 12 versus were pieced together we clapped for them and were told Santa was arriving soon.  With about 10 minutes to spare, we asked around for hot cocoa – which it turns out they weren’t serving this year.  But we were told there was a coffee house around the corner.  We walked around the corner and saw no indication of a coffee shop so I popped my head into Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shop to ask for directions, which were to go past the pizza restaurant and it would be across the street.  We worked our way through the maze of shops in the pitch-black night and someone in a timeshare booth directed us to another corner.  We spread out and finally my husband found it: Boardwalk Coffee House.  This was a quaint coffee shop that smelled appropriately of roasted coffee beans that made you want to sit down and muse about life in a conversation with someone next to you.  However, tonight we were on a Christmas-themed mission.

Hannah and I decided to head back to the carousel so we wouldn’t miss Santa and the fireworks while my husband and Kelly waited for their peppermint mocha coffee and peppermint mocha hot chocolate.  We found a white wooden rocking chair behind the carousel and sat in it as the fireworks started to pop with light and sparkle over the lake.  Hannah is slightly frightened of fireworks and I held her on my lap as she covered her ears and sometimes her eyes.  However the red and green twinkles created a festive air. As soon as the lights stopped bursting, we saw a very tall man on stilts with a blue robe and a staff – possibly Old Man Winter.  He was making the way for two mascot-dressed reindeer leading a golf cart with a Christmas tree and Santa on it!  Santa got out of the cart and started to shake hands with children.  Hannah rushed up to him and gave him a hug which he reciprocated.  She beamed with happiness as she walked back to me.  Santa stood next to a much taller, permanent Christmas tree on the sidewalk as we counted down: 10-9-8-…. The tree lit with blue lights after the count of one.

Santa HO-HO-HO’ed over to his rocking chair and a line of expectant children and their parents.  The line for (free and take-it-yourself) pictures was long so we made our way to the carousel.  Hannah rode it at least four times before we decided to find out what else was in the immediate area.  We happened upon three wall-sized mirrors with red buttons between them.  Once you pushed the button these mirrors bent and flexed and made you short and fat or tall with a long chin, or some other fun-house mirror creation.  Old Man Winter tried these mirrors out too!  We also found a small petting zoo with a donkey, a few sheep, about five lambs huddled together, and a baby cow.  The man in the black overcoat and a woman in a red coat were singing live and also played pre-recorded Christmas music during their breaks.  When “Dominic the Donkey” came on, Hannah and Kelly and I began to dance our way to the line to take a picture with Santa.  We danced to their music, singing along, and they even gave Kelly a tambourine to accompany them during one of their songs!

Kelly, Hannah, Santa, Lee, and Karen at Lighting of the Landing

Kelly, Hannah, Santa, Lee, and Karen at Lighting of the Landing

When it was our turn to visit with Santa, his helper elf, Jingles-the-elf, took our picture – one of Hannah and one of all of us.  They gave Hannah a coloring book and crayons and a piece of taffy.  We rode the carousel again and then Hannah got her face painted: a red Christmas stocking on her cheek.  The crowd had thinned out and the animals had been hauled away.  “What Did the Fox Say” started playing and Santa, Jingles, and one of the nearby store owners started dancing in front of Santa’s rocking chair.  The air was full of laughter.

We took one more picture with Santa and then headed back to the van.  This event turned out to be the perfect, crisp-cold, festive, cheerful night to begin the Christmas season!

Cost: Free event and free activities

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