Families line up for free hot chocolate and donuts provided by Mortenson Construction during the annual Eagle Mountain Christmas Village at Cory B. Wride Memorial Park on Saturday, December 1, 2018 (Katelyn Stiles, Special to the Herald)
Katelyn Stiles, Special for the Herald
There were two carriages and a smaller one pulled by miniature ponies at the annual Eagle Mountain Christmas Village at Cory B. Wride Memorial Park on Saturday, December 1, 2018 (Katelyn Stiles, Special to the Herald)
Katelyn Stiles, Special for the Herald
Alexis Robinson, 4, of Eagle Mountain takes part in the watermelon tasting contest at Pony Express Elementary on Saturday afternoon. As part of its summer festivities, Eagle Mountain celebrated its third edition of Pony Express Days. When he was done with his watermelon, Robinson replied emphatically, “I want more.” (Corey Perrine, Daily Herald file photo)
Kids jump in the bouncy houses during the 2017 Pony Express Days family fun party at Eagle Mountain. (Dominic Valente, Daily Herald file photo)
Dominic Valente, Daily Herald file photo
The growing town of Eagle Mountain is gaining fame, especially for its urban events and parks.
Events Director Dawn Hancock is getting ready for the busiest time of the year, starting with Halloween and working through the Christmas season.
Before all of this began, Eagle Mountain City Council took a moment at the September 21 meeting to honor Hancock and Jason Hall, the city’s recreation director.
Both departments were honored by the Utah Recreation and Parks Association for the services provided to residents. The 2020 Outstanding Special Event Award was presented by LeAnn Powell, URPA Executive Director, to the Eagle Mountain Events Department for its Silent Santa program.
Seeing the success of Eagle Mountain’s Silent Santa program has been a catalyst for other cities such as Payson, West Valley City and Murray to wonder how Eagle Mountain does it.
“I think the people copying it are the biggest form of flattery, and since this program was launched it’s one of the most talked about programs when our special event groups get together,” Powell said referring to the work of the Silent Santa event for equity and inclusion.
“One in five children has sensory sensitivity. The Silent Santa event offers sensitive children and adults one-on-one time with Santa Claus without crowds or high noise levels, ”added Powell.
Hancock noted how rewarding it is to see children interacting with a Santa who is ready to play on the floor, dance or just sit in silence with the children who come to visit him.
“It’s so gratifying to see everyone interacting with Santa, a lot for the first time. It is very moving to see these families enjoying this special moment with their loved ones. I am delighted to see this event grow and become a tradition not only in our city, but also in other cities, ”said Hancock.
The role of Santa Claus at this unique and award-winning event has been performed by the same Eagle Mountain resident since the program’s inception in 2018.
“This is just one of the free events organized by the city,” Hancock said. “A lot of families cannot afford events like this.
URPA represents approximately 1,400 Utah parks and recreation officials and annually recognizes municipal departments for their efforts to benefit parks, trails, open spaces, and cultural events.
With a population of nearly 50,000, Hancock and her full-time assistant are busy from Easter to Christmas with Pony Express Days in the middle.
Currently, Hancock and his department are preparing for the “adaptive” Trick-or-Treat event for people with disabilities. Then there’s the annual City of Halloween celebration that brings together thousands of residents and local businesses.
“They don’t sell anything, they just bring candy. We have so many kids at this event, ”Hancock said. “There is no pressure on parents to buy from these companies. There will also be food trucks, face painting and balloon animals. “
Hancock doesn’t stop there. Next is the Thanksgiving Morning Turkey Trot 5K which brings together over 1,000 runners through the streets of the city.
And as fast as the year goes by, Hancock is back planning the Silent Santa event, then the annual Christmas Village.
“The Christmas village has a Santa Claus, reindeer and carriage rides,” Hancock said. “The most popular event is when the children bring their letters to Santa Claus. “
The kids bring letters for Santa at the Dec. 4 event and they get a letter from him before Christmas, according to Hancock.
“It’s a fun tradition. And the kids love to receive these letters, ”Hancock said.
In January, Hancock and his team are ready for spring and summer events. “It never stops,” she said.
The Eagle Mountain City Recreation Department also received the 2020 Outstanding Service Award in its category.
The number of volunteers required to successfully run the Eagle Mountain sports and recreational leagues was a primary factor in the recognition.
“Each year we strive to do our best with recreation programs,” Hall said. “It’s great to be recognized for our efforts. I would like to thank all of the other staff and volunteers who contribute to the programs and made it possible for us to receive this award.
Eagle Mountain continues to be proud of its community engagement programs. The town commends these services for their hard work and dedication to the residents of Eagle Mountain.