DENMARK - The Community Rural Arts Work League of Bamberg County held its final 5th Friday Lawn Chair Leisure Series event for 2017, titled "Winter Wonderland," on Dec. 29 at the Art Park at 927 Hagood Ave./Highway 70.
CRAWL members held a Winter Wonderland sing-a-long for those within the community who were unable to go see the Christmas lights in Orangeburg. The organization also celebrated its one-year anniversary at the event.
CRAWL, which is part of the South Carolina Arts Commission, comes together to plan fun, educational events for residents in the area.
The cold weather didn't stop the 60 people who attended the Winter Wonderland event.
During the week leading up to the event, the Christmas trees in the Art Park got the attention of passersby.
"People would stop and ask if the trees were for sale and, 'Are you giving them away?'" CRAWL member Detra Bruce said.
In total, approximately 53 trees were on display. There was a wide variety of trees, including one decorated by members of the Lighthouse Seventh Day Adventist Church with apples and hearts. In addition, there was a gold and white tree sponsored by Faith Action Ministries and a purple Lupus Awareness tree donated by Lupus survivors.
Dr. Yvette McDaniel, the chair of CRAWL, said twin brothers even donated their deceased mother's tree.
"Their mother, Carolyn Smith, passed recently, and they wanted us to have their mom's tree," McDaniel said.
The top quality entertainment during the event was also truly unique.
The Destined 2 Dance praise dancers, ranging in age from 3 to 17, performed to the gospel song, "Your Spirit," by Tasha Cobbs Leonard.
Audience members participated in the singing of holiday classics including "Joy to the World," "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger."
Two steel drummers, who are associated with the Lifehouse Seventh Day Adventist Church, also performed.
Another entertainer was Bobby "Bobbo" Harley, a former Denmark-Olar High School teacher, who recited a poem he wrote called "Motherly Son."
"... the struggle and the strong black woman are consistent themes in the history of African Americans. It also pays homage to (poet) Langston Hughes," Harley said of his poem.
Singer Glyshae, a CRAWL representative who serves on the Tri-County Health Network's chronic disease committee, sang "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass and "At Last" by Etta James.
Also, South Carolina State University drum major Joshua Frierson sang "This Christmas" while dancing.
Everyone sipped on hot chocolate and ate cookies and cake provided by CRAWL as they were entertained.
For the final performance , audience members were invited to dance to the hit song "Wobble."
A toy giveaway for children was sponsored by Denmark Technical College and Toys for Tots.
"We just hope that even more people come next year," McDaniel said of the Winter Wonderland program. "From the churches to strangers, it just came together. We had so many community people helping us and donating money to the program."
Up next, CRAWL will sponsor a health conference from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Denmark Technical College. It will be free and open to the general public.
For more information about CRAWL, contact McDaniel at 803-793-5259 or firstname.lastname@example.org.