Estimates put Candyland crowd at 5K-plus on Saturday

Published 1:43 am Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Local officials estimate as many as 5,000 people enjoyed the Candyland attractions this past weekend.

Saturday’s Cocoa with Characters, featuring Meredith’s Miracles’ most popular characters, drew the biggest crowd do date. City Director of Planning Andy Wiggins told city council members Monday night the crowd included residents of Daphne, Gulf Shores, Spanish Fort, Mobile, Crestview, Birmingham, Dothan, Midland City, Ozark, Ft. Rucker and Auburn.

Emma Patrick visits with Belle (Alyssa Jones) and Anna (Annabell Bryant).

“There was one group from Gainsville, Fla.,” he said. “They told us they read about it in Southern Living in August and immediately booked a room here.”

Visitors stood in long lines to visit with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, Belle, Mickey and Minnie, Paw Patrol, and Santa. Wiggins said at one point the line for snow tubing extended from the tubing entrance to the playhouses.

The feedback in person and on social media was very positive, Chamber Executive Director Chrissie Duffy said.

Kayce Wolf Wood of Fort Rucker, posted on the Christmas in Candyland Facebook page, “We visited Candyland yesterday and has a wonderful time! It is soo awesome that you all provide affordable family fun this time of year. All the staff were so helpful and friendly, but I specifically wanted to compliment your younger and teen staff. They seemed to be enjoying themselves which totally added to the enjoyment for the kids.

“he younger boys working the top of the slide were so fun! Multiple times they were offering to help and doing it with smile! Especially during the ice skating when lots of kids needed help,” Wood wrote. “The characters were having fun and really getting into it. That’s not something you see all the time and was so awesome. So high five, teenagers! You are making a difference in the lives of a lot of kids but treating them how you did. We will definitely be back to visit for as long as we are in Alabama.”

Eli Frost, 2, looks longingly through the fence as older kids ice skate.

Another visitor from Dothan posted, “I highly recommend going here with the kids! We went tonight and they had snow and the light show and they had the cutest cottages for kids to play in.

“It was well worth the hour drive from Dothan,” she wrote. “We loved how they had snow tubing and the meet with Santa. The cutest downtown for Christmas I have seen yet.”