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Loon Center aglow with holiday spirit

Ericka and Ryan Osswald make a snow loon. Erin Plummer. (click for larger version)
December 01, 2010
MOULTONBORO — The food, the decorations, and the man in the red suit were all present at the Loon Center for its annual holiday open house Saturday.

Loon Preservation Committee Executive Director Harry Vogel said the event draws people to the Loon Center during a time when loons are not commonly talked about. This time of year, area loons are at the ocean for the winter, but Vogel said the center is open year round, including the visitor's center and the nature trails out back.

"It's great to be able to bring together the volunteers and the community to experience the Loon Center," Vogel said.

Families were treated to food, face painting by Cedar Sanderson, little gifts, and time with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Downstairs children could make a "snow loon" out of construction paper, putting pieces together to look like a loon in winter.

For the first time, the open house had a horse drawn carriage provided by Lamprey and Lamprey of Center Harbor.

Santa (Armand Maheux of Laconia) arrived at the Loon Center in the wagon and was greeted by excited children.

Mrs. Claus was played by former center manager Rachel Williams, who has donned the Mrs. Claus costume for the past nine years.

"The pure joy of it, the Christmas spirit," Williams said of what brings her to the role every year.

Haylie and Connor Adams of Moultonboro had the chance to meet Santa and spend a day of fun at the open house.

"I like the face painting and the arts and crafts," Haylie said.

"I like the crafts and food," said Connor.

Their mother Lori Adams said she liked all the activities for the kids.

"Great way to start off the season," she said.

Five-year-old twins Madison and Michael Palmer said they liked telling Santa what they wanted for Christmas.

"We live in Melvin Village and we come every year with the children," said their mother Linda Palmer, who brought the kids and their dad Brian Palmer.

Linda Palmer said the family regularly visit's the Loon Center at all times of the year and this is their fourth year coming to the open house.

"It's a great thing for the children," she said.

This was the first year for the Osswald family of New Bedford, Mass. Ericka and Chad Osswald brought their sons Tyler, age 8, and Ryan, age 2, to spend the holiday with relatives in Moultonboro.

"It's wonderful and it very nice," Ericka Osswald said. "The arts and crafts I think are very good."

Visitors could also enter a raffle for a custom 17-food cedar strip canoe, a quilted loon wall hanging, and a framed print of loon art by Peter Ferber.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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