Christmas in the Park Breaks Attendance Records

A bear sits on toys at Christmas in the Park
A bear sits on toys at Christmas in the Park | Image by Andrew Terrell/The Dallas Express

Hundreds of families gathered at Fair Park Saturday morning for the 25th annual S.M. Wright Foundation Christmas in the Park event.

Christmas in the Park is an annual gift-giving event organized by the S.M. Wright Foundation, held inside the Automobile Building at Fair Park in Dallas.

As reported by The Dallas Express, the event aims to spread holiday joy and hope to those who need it most. The Foundation does this by providing brand-new toys, bed sets, coats, bicycles, food, clothing, and household items to hundreds of children and their families.

“Christmas in the park is a treasure in our city for the holiday because it brings together the whole city, united, from all walks of life,” said Pastor S.M. Wright Jr., co-founder, president, and CEO of the S.M. Wright Foundation. “That is one of the secrets to its success. All walks of life are here to share in making Christmas special for the kids.”

“It is all about the joy of seeing kids getting Christmas gifts,” Wright told The Dallas Express.

According to Wright, the big difference between this year and those prior was the economy and the soaring inflation rate.

“I have not seen so much need — [it’s] greater this year than previous years,” he said. “It has just been really hard on a lot of families and this is really helpful for many of those families here today, and I’m just glad to be able to help.”

When putting together such an enormous event, Wright said he doesn’t consider the challenges with respect to organizing Christmas in the Park. Instead, he only looks at what needs to be done.

“We just try to make sure that we work with what we have,” he said. “Whatever we have, we work with it and we make it good.”

Selena Gutierrez, her husband David, and her daughter Grace were some of the first to walk the red carpet to choose a gift. Grace, 7, ended up walking away with a pink ride-along Corvette.

“You should have seen Grace’s face light up when she spotted the little car,” Selena told The Dallas Express. “I knew then and there that today was going to be a special day. She is already excited to get home to drive it around.”

DX Photo Template - 2023-12-16T194422.403

“I am extremely grateful for [everyone] that put this together, and so are the many families that are here today,” she added.

Marcus Booker and his son Jason, 5, also walked the red carpet Saturday morning. Having moved from Seattle to Dallas in early November, Booker told The Dallas Express that he was still working on getting his apartment together.

“It’s been rough,” he said about his family’s move across the country. “We haven’t had a TV all this time, so my son is pretty happy about finally having something to watch his cartoons on.”

While Jason and Grace were some of the lucky kids to land a favorable place in line, others weren’t so lucky. So many families arrived Saturday morning that one on-duty officer covering the event suggested to The Dallas Express that there may not be enough toys or gifts to go around this year.

DX Photo Template - 2023-12-16T194758.805

Not only did the line of people snake around the interior of the Automobile Building, but it also extended far outside the venue, past the entrance of the Cotton Bowl, ending directly in front of the Super Midway sign.

Despite the overwhelming Christmas joy permeating the building, the officer said that if gifts ran out, it wouldn’t surprise her to see fights break out between families.

No fights occurred while The Dallas Express was at the event, and the general atmosphere was one of joy and excitement. This was aided by a live performance by the Frisco High School marching band, who serenaded the ears of families waiting in line with Christmas classics.

“Christmas in the park is a special time for families, and I am thankful that we are able to continue the event,” Wright told The Dallas Express. “It is a blessing to do, and we’re going to continue to do it.”


Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article