NEWTON FALLS — The weather outside was anything but frightful, which helped bring more than 300 people to Newton Falls on Sunday to celebrate Christmas.
Spearheaded by Patti Hanzes and Katie McClain, the Newton Falls Area Commerce Association rang in Christmas in July with family activities and charitable events.
Newton Falls graduate Jack Kucek, a former pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays, was master of ceremonies and directed everyone as activities occurred. He interacted with the children and pointed out some with “a good arm” as they pitched at the target at the dunking booth.
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived by fire truck around 1 p.m. and immediately were greeted by children running up to hug them. They visited with the children and gave each one a treat during their 90-minute visit.
Nick Kepich of the Sub Stop manned the grill by cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers. Chips, cookies and drinks were all available to everyone in attendance.
New to the event this year was the bounce house and the tug of war challenge by the Iron Forge Gym. Iron Forge Gym is a new business run by Calvin Vaughn, who is a super heavyweight strongman competitor at the top of his class in Ohio.
Dan Skinner of Eagle Creek Tactical is a heavyweight strongman competitor with a passion for helping others discover their greatness. He recently took second place at the Fitness Works Strongman classic.
The two pitted their strength against a number of teams from Newton Falls, including the high school band and track team, the Little Tigers, members of New Wave Tae Kwon Do, and Newton Falls Mayor Ken Kline and his family. These heavyweight champs “lost” honorably to each team.
People could get three balls for $1 to try their hand at dunking some local volunteers. The first to be dunked was Kline, who was dunked by his grandson. Other dunk tank participants included Bud Dunlap of Elite Plumbing and Water, Chad Hufstutler of the Five 4’s Distillery, C.J. Shelton, fire Chief James Williamson, Amber Holley of Forward Ministries, Councilwoman Tesa Spletzer and Councilman Chris Granchie.
Benson’s BS and Collectibles had cornhole for charity where sinking the beanbags resulted in gift cards and other prizes. Proceeds from the game will be used for scholarships for students from Newton Falls and Windham.
Children also had sack races in which to compete, a Frisbee toss, a water balloon fight and an obstacle course.