The River Reporter

They came out early on December 16 and then they just kept coming, and by the time the fourth annual Children’s Holiday Party was over, nearly 1,000 people stopped by to enjoy the festivities at Monticello Casino and Raceway. The party was sponsored by the raceway and the Monticello Harness Horsemen’s Association.

When the grandstand loud speakers blurted Gene Autry’s version of ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ as the jolly ole gent made his way to the winners circle on a sulky pulled by a white horse, the children began to cheer. Once there, Santa greeted the children and then they all went upstairs to the third floor of the grandstand to partake in the activities of the special day.

According to Dale Berensen, executive secretary of the horsemen’s association, this year’s crowd was the biggest yet. “This is the fourth year that we’ve had this day for the local children and each year the crowd size doubles. Kids, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents joined in the festivities. We gave away 13 bicycles and over 200 fabulous games much to the delight of the children. It was a wonderful fabulous day.”