Ho Ho Ho Hum! Cowboy Christmas at Laporte Farms in Sebastian is an annual event that is looked forward to each Christmas season. It has become a tradition in our family and this year was no different. It was even part of our Christmas chain and as the date grew closer, the excitement increased.
On December 15th, 2012, the event ran from 4 pm – 8 pm. When we arrived, the first change was the hayride pulled by the tractor. This has always been how we got from the parking lot to the farm. No hayride this year, so parents could be seen pushing strollers along the side of the rough dirt road, or leading their toddlers by hand as the promised shuttle never showed up. This couldn’t diminish the excitement of the little ones, even though it did diminish that of the parents.
This is the first year that they charged an admission which was gladly paid by the attendees. Once through the front gates is when reality truly kicked in. Maybe the ATM truck on the front lawn should have been the first clue. Vendors lined the path that were normally filled with kids running from one inflatable scene to the next, or tumbling down the hill enjoying being young.
This year, tickets were used in place of cash. 5 tickets ($5.00) for a pony ride that was 2 laps around the small corral. One of the ponies was being led by a young girl who obviously did not want to be doing what she was doing as she kept yanking her ponies head in frustration. She was definitely not in the Christmas spirit. The ride was over before I even had time to pull out my camera!
As we continued to wander around, we realized that this was no longer a great place to truly enjoy the Christmas family spirit, but rather just another commercialized event. A huge t-shirt vendor took away from the beauty of the farm, the Chinese imported over priced bubble guns were a major source of annoyment to the parents as the vendor wandered through the crowd blowing bubbles in hopes of enticing the kids to talk their parents into purchasing one for them. What it created instead were frustrated parents and crying children.
Every year, Cowboy Christmas always included snow, but this year, they opted to not have snow and instead replaced it with an area for kids to play in where they hid candy in hay. This might not have turned out as badly as it did if they didn’t choose to charge $2.00 for your child to play in the hay! Everything had a charge which is why it was necessary for them to provide an ATM!
But of course, it is Christmas, so maybe the campfire and Christmas songs would make up for the fiasco. After all, they had even included this as part of their promotional flyer! The area where they always had the campfire is gone and there was no Christmas music playing. We left within an hour of arriving but we didn’t leave alone though, as families were not staying as long as they normally would have and we soon arrived at the half empty parking lot. Sadly, we hopped in the car in search of Christmas as it had obviously left Laporte Farm.