Cruella, Karma, Coco, Chanel and Clarise, Santa’s “reindeer” who were alpacas dressed in antlers, waited for residents to visit the third annual Barnyard Light Tour on Saturday at William S. Hart Park.
In an event hosted by Friends of Hart Park and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, residents came to take photos with Santa, meet his reindeer and say hello to the other farm animals, such as pigs Newt and Rico.
Attendees also had the chance to win prizes from the raffle — and tickets were handed out for free at the door.
Recreation Service Supervisor Amanda Carder described the incentive behind the event and in bringing awareness regarding the sanctuary at Hart Park.
“We hold this event every year to bring awareness about the animals here at the park. All proceeds are for the animals of the barnyard. We really do the event to just bring families together for the holidays,” Carder said.
Carder expressed her appreciation for the joint effort of the volunteers and those involved to bring the community together for the good of the animals.
“Usually, we work on the event slowly over the course of a month, putting up all the lights and making the props,” Carder said. “The staff works really, really hard. It’s really a joint effort. The Friends of Hart Park volunteers run the bookstore and the gift shop for us today. We get a lot of volunteers that are regulars in the barnyard helping, they’re the ones to see all the animal pens, helping run the animal pens.”
Along with the volunteers, the animals played a big role in ensuring a great turnout for the holiday season. Rachael Komulainen, the park animal keeper, expected over 1,000 attendees, compared to the 500 from the previous year.
“This is our third annual Barnyard Lights Tour, and it allows the public to come for free and see our garden yard all lit up and to actually get interactions with some of our animals,” Komulainen said. “We have our alpacas and llamas out right now; we have our potbellied pig trainer here that people can go on with and we have our tortoises. So, it’s fun for people to get a chance to interact. Plus, we have popcorn and a hot chocolate station, and we’ve got all kinds of cool prizes that people can try and win.”
The animals, who have been rescued, live permanently at Hart Park. While the lights will be taken down by the beginning of January, residents are encouraged to visit the farm friends throughout the year.
The barnyard is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.