2008 Spirit of Christmas sees over 7500 visitors and one new-born baby goat.

Baby goat "Panda" was born at the Aldor Acres petting zoo during the Great West Life Spirit of Christmas. (Photos by Danny Hsiao)

The non-stop rain could not damper spirits at this year's Great West Life Spirit of Christmas. Over 7500 visitors came through the gates at Trinity Western University on November 28th and 29th to partake in the many indoor and activities offered.

Embracing the typical lower mainland weather, guest donned raincoats, rubber boots and umbrellas and stood in line to take a horse drawn carriage ride, pet one of the many animals at the Aldor Acres petting zoo, and watch the beautiful outdoor living nativity. Inside the university's Reimer Student Centre the building was buzzing with artisans showcasing their creations, phenomenal local and international talent performing on two stages, and a variety of children's activities. Adam the Balloon sculptor was in high demand as children witnessed balloon after balloon being twisted into motorcycles, palm trees, flowers and Rudolphs.

"This is a great way to start off the Christmas season with your family," said guest Tracy Moar from Vancouver.

Event Producer Michael Wipf says, "Seeing the smiles on our guests faces as they take in and enjoy the numerous activities makes producing this annual event so worth it." This is the third year the event has had Wipf at the helm. "We have a fantastic crew. Everyone from TWU administration and event staff to the custodial crew and volunteers really pitches in to help make this event such a success - the "spirit" of Christmas is contagious that way!"

Carriage lineThis year the event highlighted two charities. The Canuck Place Children's Hospice was on site and auctioned off a signed Vancouver Canuck hockey stick, while Great West Life, the title sponsor of the event, provided volunteers to station the traditional Salvation Army kettles. Both charities received much needed donations for their projects from Spirit of Christmas attendees.

"It's so inspiring to see families come to not only attend the Spirit of Christmas but to also give generously to these charities that in turn help so many," says Wipf. "That's a large reason why this event exists."

As the colourful orbs of the Christmas lights sparkled, the bells on the horse drawn carriage rang out, and as the traditional story of the nativity, the birth of the Christ child, played out by actors on stage, a little miracle happened. In the make-shift stable at Aldor Acres, as wide-eyed children and on-lookers watched in awe, a mother pygmy goat gave birth. The children lucky enough to witness this wonder named the little black and white baby goat "Panda". And all was calm and all was bright!

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Last Updated: 2008-12-01
Author: Erin Mussolum