BROOKSVILLE — The animated television special A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a holiday staple since it debuted in 1965. And with the recent release of The Peanuts Movie, the lovable loser and his friends are more popular than ever.
So, it is fitting that good ol' Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang will be the theme of the annual Candy Cane Acres holiday event that opens this weekend at the Hernando County Fairgrounds.
"We've always had a small Charlie Brown display," said Shari Klimas, president of the Hernando County Fair Association. "But this year, we've added more."
Local artist Theresa Voiles has painted windows with scenes from the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Last year, Voiles had painted scenes from the Disney hit Frozen.
"Theresa does a great job," Klimas said.
Candy Cane Acres is a walk-through display featuring a Christmas village with handmade decorations among about 100,000 glittering lights that dance to music from Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Visitors can see Santa's workshop, enjoy Florida-style sleigh rides and play in the Florida "snow" provided by two bubble machines.
Indoors, children can decorate sugar cookies in Mrs. Claus' kitchen. There also will be a parade of trees, children's games and a model train display that features two trains that travel from the Brooksville depot to Dr. Seuss' Whoville. Santa will be available in the back of the building, where he will have plenty of room to visit with children and pose for pictures.
New additions to this year's event include a Lego display by Brick University and a petting zoo with "reindeer" rides (ponies with antlers). For a small fee, visitors can purchase feed for the animals.
Putting together the annual holiday event is a feat that takes Klimas and about 20 volunteers more than a month to accomplish.
"Seeing the children smile and having a good time makes it all worth it," Klimas said. "That's what it's all about."