In a time where the holidays have become riddled with distractions, one farm has taken a stand by hosting an event which celebrates family.
Double D.A.B. Riding Stable of Ripley has begun hosting a family friendly holiday event that features pony rides with Santa, a petting farm, festive decorations and more. The event, which occurs from 1-3 p.m., will run for two more weekends, including today, Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22.
According to Darlene Breads, who co-owns Double D.A.B. with Dougles Bowen, the program has been running for the past two weekends, and participants have been greatly enjoying themselves.
Double D.A.B. Riding Stable of Ripley is hosting a holiday event, which occurs from 1-3 p.m. and will run for two more weekends, including today, Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 22.
"People have been coming out to visit with Santa, ride the ponies and meet the animals in the petting farm," Breads said. "In addition to horses and ponies, we have llamas, goats, sheep, donkeys, a miniature horse and a big Percheron horse named Cash."
The main attraction for the event is the pony rides, which are $10 and include access to the petting farm and time with Santa.
"I think it's important for children to get outside, see Santa and know that the animals are here - it's a great little outing," Breads said. "Riding gets them in touch with the animals and gives them a sense of balance. The ones who have been here thought it was wonderful."
In keeping with the holiday season, Breads also put up many Christmas decorations, including a tractor and a barn. Even the volunteers are dressed like Santa's elves.
"The boys are crazy about the tractor because they can sit a top it and take a photo with Santa," Breads said. "Inside the festive barn we have hot chocolate, cookies and other refreshments for people to help themselves to since it's chilly out."
Samantha Alemar, a volunteer for Double D.A.B., believes the event gives children and their families a different perspective on Santa, and also gives them a sense of how things used to be.
"It goes back to the Biblical age of Jesus in the manger with his sheep and goats - we have everything there," Alemar said. "It also gives children a different visualization of Santa. It's not like going to the mall where they stand in line for a few moments with Santa. Here we have a fully functioning farm where they can stay all afternoon and take in Santa on their own time."
The experience is also unique because of the bond that forms between human and animal, Alemar said.
"It's the most amazing thing you've ever experienced," Alemar said. "The ponies are the right size for children, so they have the eye to eye contact and the ability to connect with them."
One of the things that Alemar hopes participants take away from the experience is to see the holidays in a different light, she said.
"In this day in age society has turned Christmas into such a merchandised holiday," Alemar said. "By coming out to the barn, and taking a moment to step out of that mall element, you'll find yourself making new memories by spending time on the farm with your family."
Double D.A.B is located at 5811 Welch Hill Rd. in Ripley. For more information, call 736-4418, visit www.doubledab.net or search for "Double D.A.B Riding Stable" on Facebook.