Pizarro: Santa Claus marries couple at Christmas in the Park

Pizarro: Santa Claus marries couple at Christmas in the Park

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Jingle bells turned into wedding bells Wednesday night as Deborah Smith and Kevin Patterson Jr. exchanged vows at Christmas in the Park. Instead of a church organist, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” played in the background. And the ceremony was officiated by — who else? — Santa Claus.

It was Smith’s dream wedding come true. Who needs rice when you can have a little fake snow?

“I’ve come to the park numerous amounts of times during the holidays,” Smith said, who wore a shimmering white cape and tiara to the ceremony. “I just thought maybe I could do something little out in a corner, out of the way.”

It turned out to be not so small as she thought. While there have been many marriage proposals at Christmas in the Park — there was one just last Saturday — nobody had ever tied the knot there. “This is our 37th year, and this is our first wedding,” Christmas in the Park Executive Director Jason Minsky told the cheering crowd that assembled in front of Santa’s cottage for the nuptials.

When he got word of Smith’s request — which included the history that she’s a longtime fan who also decorated trees in the park as a Girl Scout — Minsky huddled with his board of directors to see how they could make the wedding day extra special. The South Bay couple brought glow sticks and bubble wands to hand out as favors, and Patterson picked up a box of brownies instead of a cake for friends and family who attended.

But the couple ended up being stunned by some surprise gifts after the ceremony: The Fairmont Hotel provided the couple with a suite for the night and set up a reception in its Lobby Lounge. Alaska Airlines gave the Pattersons round-trip tickets to Orange County, and Christmas in the Park threw in a pair of passes for the couple — both big Disney fans — to visit Disneyland.

“I was totally surprised by all of the stuff the Fairmont has done, Disneyland and the airline,” the bride said. “I can’t even imagine how I got that.”

For them, Christmas in the Park might become the new Happiest Place on Earth.

GOOD DEED DEPT.: The Assistance League of San Jose delivered the gift of learning to elementary school students this month. The volunteer group gave children’s encyclopedias to 1,257 second- and third-graders in the Franklin McKinley, Alum Rock Unified, Oak Grove and San Jose Unified school districts. Assistance League past president Pat Passarelli says the group’s Readers Are Leaders program puts volunteers in classrooms to read to kids on a regular basis, too.

Meanwhile, Al and Diana Vallorz are doing their part again with the Random Acts of Pizza program at Tony & Alba’s Pizza & Pasta on Stevens Creek and Winchester boulevards. Customers can donate $10 to provide a complete dinner of pizza, salad and drinks for a family of 4 or 5.  The certificates are distributed to local food banks, churches and schools to distribute to the needy.

“Diana and I have this program all year but during the holiday season it seems to kick in more as customers realize how blessed they are and want to give back,” Al Vallorz said.

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Published at Thu, 15 Dec 2016 21:30:58 +0000

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