Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lightwater Valley Dickensian Festival, Ripon

One Saturday in December we went to Lightwater Valley for their Dickensian Christmas weekend. Normally, Lightwater Valley is an amusement park (only open in the fairer months) and a shopping village (which stays open year round). The shops had stalls in front of them selling the typical Yule Tide wares. We had a fun visit to the stalls and the outdoors activities.
 
They also have mini-golf!

The first thing we saw after parking was a calliope that was re-themed for the holidays.

Throw Santa in the corner and put a Christmas tune on, you're all set!

Further on we saw reindeer. They had arrived ahead of Santa and were busily munching away on the nice golf course grass.

Hungry reindeer

Jacob is hungry too!

I had no idea their hooves looked like this!

We went inside to look at the sales and such.

Entrance to the covered shopping

Dickensian sales folk

In addition to the various merchants, quite a few tombolas were spread throughout. The tombola is a sort of raffle where you pay money to draw a ticket from a hamper. If the number matches one of the items on display, you win that item. Typically, numbers ending in 0 or 5 are winners, though here we played one that only had 0s. That's when we drew 185 and were excited for less than a minute. Lucy later played a tombola where children get a prize just for playing. Jacob played a tombola that had concession prizes for the other numbers. Having drawn 228, he could draw a present from the 8 bin. So we won two out of three tombolas, which is a pretty good record.

Lucy wins a gift bag!

Lucy, Jacob, and the bins of prizes

Further on was a craft activity where the children pealed off stickers one by one and put colored sand on the exposed sticky part. With a little patience and careful choices, we wound up with a very colorful alphabet!

Lucy surveys her (and Jacob's) handiwork

We went back outside for the arrival of Santa. He came on the little train that was running that day. He had a sackful of gold coin that he gave out to the children. Lucy was more excited to find out the coins were actually gold foil-wrapped chocolates! She says they were tasty but wouldn't let me confirm it.

Santa waves to the crowd

The outdoors also has a birds of prey exhibit. Customers could pay to have an owl perch on them and get a photo. We did not spring for it since the children were not interested.

It would have been cool, though

A more interesting activity was pony riding. We asked the kids if they wanted a ride, assuming Lucy would say "yes" and Jacob would say "no." Surprisingly, the responses were reversed. Jacob had his first pony ride on Pippin the pony.

Jacob goes for his first horse ride

Jacob has never ridden any animal before but he had a good time. I walked along with him and he chatted nicely with the lady leading Pippin. Turns out she is named after some children's story Pippin and not the Hobbit from Lord of the Rings. Lucy and Mommy trailed after us. Jacob was immensely happy.

After a fun ride, Lucy shows signs of regret

We found some lunch and then headed out to leave. Just before we left, we saw a group of dancers performing a sword dance. Lucy and Mommy were too cold and not fascinated enough to keep watching, so they went into a nearby shoppe to warm up. Jacob and I were mesmerized and watched the whole rest of the performance.

Players and dancers

Sword play



We had a very fun visit to Lightwater Valley and will probably come back to try out the amusement park if the kids seem up for it. That won't be till next summer at the earliest.

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