2012 HH volunteers at Festival of Cheer - Dec. 8 - Clipping from Surprise [AZ] Today, Dec. 12, 2012)
Mountain of snow draws Festival of Cheer climbers
Jeff Dempsey, Today Staff
Benevilla celebrated its annual Festival of Cheer Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex, a day dedicated to the celebration of cultures and holidays from around the world.
Throughout the day, visitors were treated to an eclectic lineup of performances, from dancing to martial arts demonstrations. But again, as is always the case, the most popular attraction for the children in attendance was the snow.
Two fields of snow, separated into age groups, were crowded even long after the sun had caused much of it to melt away. John Bruner, a Peoria resident, was there with his granddaughter. While she played in the snow, Bruner played it smart and set up his own folding chair off to the side.
"The kids are all having a lot of fun," he said. "So far the snow and the group of kids doing Michael Jackson routines have been the big hits." Bruner said he could not help but chuckle at his young granddaughter's antics. "She came up to me just a minute ago," he said. "And she said to me, 'Papa, the snow is cold.' I said, 'No kidding?'"
Beverly Beideman, a Ventana Lakes resident, was the festival with her grandchildren. Some of them were involved in the Girl Scout booths and therefore kept busy all day. The rest of the grandkids, though? "I've got the ones that are too young, and I'm walking them around," she said. "I'm ready to quit, but I don't think they are." Indeed, even as Beideman said that one of her grandchildren began tugging at her sweater sleeve, urging her on to the next new sight. As Beideman was led away, she could not help but laugh. "I'm hoping they get tired soon so I can go sit down," she said.
Harold Uible is a Sun City West resident and a longtime friend of Benevilla. He has visited the Festival of Cheer for several years but this time he decided to help out. "I'm volunteering today," he said. "I'm in charge of picking up trash."
Uible was perched in a spot about in the middle of all the goings-on, and he said from his view everyone seemed to be having a good time, especially the children with all that snow. "They enjoy it, don't they," he said. "I think for many of them it's the first snow they've ever seen."
Uible said he has watched the festival grow over the years, and he is looking forward to next year. "I think it gets better every year," he said. "And I think attendance is growing too."