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Candy canes sweeten holiday festivities

Children swarm one of the designated candy cane hunting areas as part of the city’s second annual candy cane hunt at Raab Park on Sunday.  - Charles Melton/Staff Photo
Children swarm one of the designated candy cane hunting areas as part of the city’s second annual candy cane hunt at Raab Park on Sunday.
— image credit: Charles Melton/Staff Photo

POULSBO — Raab Park took on a sweeter flavor Sunday as candy canes were hidden in the grass waiting for eager hunters to track them down.

With Mother Nature providing a healthy dose of winter sunshine, about 100 children and their parents wasted little time in finding their prey as all the Christmas delights were gone in a matter of minutes.

“It was an excellent turnout and we couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said event organizer Marla Harkleroad as she surveyed the playground teeming with kids swarming up and down the slides and other new equipment at the park.

The playground equipment was set up by volunteers from The Home Depot, who worked with the city’s parks and recreation department earlier this year to provide more amenities for local children to enjoy.

With each age group eyeing their designated areas, Harkleroad and a host of volunteers set them loose and within 30 minutes nary a candy cane was left to be found.

“Everything went extremely well and there weren’t any problems at all,” Harkleroad said, the sounds of a fire engine hailing the arrival of jolly old Saint Nick in the background.

“Santa even made it on time,” joked Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey, who took the time to read the traditional holiday tale, “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” while visitors sipped hot cider and hot chocolate provided by Starbucks.

With Santa on site, kids automatically abandoned their candy cane quests and flocked to his side as parents stood by with holiday smiles on their faces.

With crowds beginning to dwindle, Harkleroad at last breathed a jubilant sigh of relief.

“We had more people than last year, so I’d say it was a success. And how about this weather?” she said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

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