By Jasmine Willis
WAYLAND — Santa Claus came a little early to our local petting zoo in time to ask children what they wanted under their Christmas Trees.
For the first time ever Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too had Santa Claus all weekend to share joy for the holiday season. On Dec. 11 the event kicked off with holiday decorations, cookies, hot coco, coloring books, letters to Santa Claus, petting the animals, and asking Santa Claus what you want for Christmas.
Cherie Carter, Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too owner decided to make the event bigger and better this year in hopes of sparking joy in the community.
“It has been a hard year for all of us. I wanted to do something to brighten the holidays for everyone. I had Santa Claus come down for three days this time. We will be closed down for the petting zoo after this until our Easter Egg Hunt. We will have the leather shop open for appointments or to stop on by if you see me here,” she said.
Carter had to do it all on her own this time without her main volunteers. It was harder to pull off the Dinky Doo Christmas. Yet she managed to make it a big success for the entire community. She hopes to be able to do more in the future.
Robert Harder said the Christmas events bring him a lot of joy every single year. He hopes that after all the hardships people faced this year they will all get back to the real meaning of Christmas.
“This always brings me a lot of joy. I miss being able to do all the things I used to do. I miss holding the little ones. But we need to be careful in these hard times. I do get some hugs in and I don’t mind that,” he said. “I think with families staying home and reconnecting with one another this year we will get back what we lost. I think with them coming to see Santa
Claus it makes them feel like they are getting some of that Christmas we are all used to back.”
Harder recalled spending his Christmastimes at his various family member’s homes and enjoying sledding all night long with his cousins. In those days the farmers would allow children to sled down their hills and there was a bonfire set up top to keep them warm.
Carter said there are still baby Guinea Pigs and Bunnies for sale that can be picked up on Christmas Eve.
“This was the first festival I had this year. I had planned on having about seven of them. When Covid-19 hit that hurt a lot of small businesses,” she said. “We did good this summer with people wanting to get back to normal and come to the local petting zoo. We have kept up to regulations with masks and social distancing and hand sanitizers.”
Carter is in need of more volunteers at the petting zoo and leather shop. The volunteers can be 10 years old or older. She educates the children on how to care for animals, life skills, and even how to do leather work.
The Carolyn’s Sweet’s Christmas Tree Raffle took place on Dec. 13. Proceeds for this fundraiser go to Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Leah’s Place. Those who won can pick up their prizes on Dec. 21. Jessica Levinson of Atlanta handles the treats and assortments for this fundraiser.
Carter hopes next year will be a fresh start for Dinky Doo Petting Zoo and Pony Rides Too. Anyone interested in volunteering or purchasing from the leather shop during the winter season contact the shop at 585-978-5611. It is located at 1864 Route 63 in Wayland.