The City of Buena Park once again hosted a huge holiday bash this past weekend at the Ehlers Center to celebrate Christmas. Thousands gathered from all four corners of “The Golden State,” to celebrate the divine birth of Jesus Christ, and the age old spirit of the winter season. With live dance, musical, and even martial arts performances, all local residents and tourists were having a blast. “The main things that get me into the Christmas spirit are the decorations and the traditional Christmas music,” says John Gates. “I love to decorate for the holiday.
The City of Buena Park once again hosted a huge holiday bash this past weekend at the Ehlers Center to celebrate Christmas. Thousands gathered from all four corners of “The Golden State,” to celebrate the divine birth of Jesus Christ, and the age old spirit of the winter season. With live dance, musical, and even martial arts performances, all local residents and tourists were having a blast. “The main things that get me into the Christmas spirit are the decorations and the traditional Christmas music,” says John Gates. “I love to decorate for the holiday. It is exciting.” Gates is the owner of the “Can Crafts By John.com,” shop at the Christmas Candy Caneland & Craft Faire. Mr. Gates specializes in creative and unique art pieces that are entirely made from recycled soda cans. He uses the aluminum to create state of the art replicas of military warplanes and United States Air Force combat jets. “This is my second year participating in this Christmas event here in Buena Park,” explains Gates. “I read about it in some local advertisements and decided to give it a shot.” Gates has been creating his amazing artwork for over 30 years, and first got started with some close friends of his back in the late 1970’s. “For me, it is all about recycling and helping the earth,” states Gates. “All of the materials that I use for my art are reused, repurposed, and re-modified. It is a big chance for me to be creative. It is a way for me, or any other artist to use an everyday common product to express their imagination. Still, you must always have patience.” With exactly one hour, and a total of six soda cans, Gates can produce a new jet fighter. “My friends would only make one item with this method, but I built upon this technique and expanded my creations to other things,” says Gates. Gates has also added World War II Flying Tiger War Planes to his artistic arsenal. Still, what inspires Gates the most is the looks on the children’s faces when they come by to view his work. “I love when I see the little children come by, I love how my work inspires them,” explains Gates. “It lets them know that anything is possible, and that with a free product that they can find in their local park, school, or at home, they can use the spare parts to create something fantastic with the strength of their minds.” When asked about what he is most thankful for this Christmas holiday, Gates responded with, “my beloved family, my health, and my faith in Christ.” The majority of the Southern California natives that attended the Christmas event could concur with Gates as they sang and strolled around the festival with the Holiday Classic “Silent Night,” blaring so serenely across the festivities from the main stage’s sound system, thus adding a loving mystique to the traditional American event. Even good ole Saint Nickolas Claus himself, and his wife Jessica Claus decided to make a special appearance for the crowd as they rode in while being escorted by the Buena Park Fire Department. The North Pole natives waltzed through a group of cheering children as they waived their little fists in excitement. “I love how the spirit of Christmas brings all people together,” says Iris Huaman, who owns a Peruvian Jewelry Boutique at the event. “I am most thankful this Christmas for my health, and the love of my family. I am also praying to Jesus for the peace of this world.” Huaman has been participating in the Christmas Candy Caneland & Craft Faire for three years now, and was first invited to participate by a close friend. “I have been making traditional Peruvian jewelry, clothing, and art products for 15 years,” states Huaman. “I am very careful, it takes me about two hours to lace and build one piece.” The thing that touches Huaman’s heart the most is how the public admires and respects her hard work. Her hottest selling items are her Jesus cross diamond and silver laced bracelets, her rings that are built with exotic jewels, and her traditional Peruvian knitted children’s sweaters. Another highly crafty artist that attended the Christmas festival was Annette Jacobsen and her granddaughter, Nicollette. The two of them also specialize in the creation of classic Christmas ornaments, jewelry, statues, and other artistic pieces. “I design my own work, and have been doing it for 15 years,” explains Annette. “I have been attending the Christmas Candy Caneland & Craft Faire for a total of 15 years as well.” Annette’s mother is the first one in the family to start the business, and gave birth to a tradition that lasted generations. Annette is the new face of the legacy, and hopes to one day pass on the torch to both her sister and now her granddaughter Nicollette. “My biggest hope is for the two gals to carry on the torch after me. It would be amazing,” says Annette. Annette makes a wide array of artistic masterpieces like her baby pig and elephant Christmas ornaments that are really popular amongst the children demographic, her beaded Christmas bells that were first invented by her mother in her youth, and her Christmas tree statues that are laced with shiny beads and precious jewels. “It takes me ten minutes to build the baby pig and elephant Christmas ornaments,” says Annette. “The Christmas trees on the other hand take me about a week to fully finish. It is the Christmas tree pieces that get me most into the Christmas spirit. The children seem to like the baby pigs and the elephant ornaments though. They are selling out like crazy.” Annette’s biggest holiday wish this Christmas is for all of the Islamic terrorist violence to stop, (in reference to the recent ISIS attacks in San Bernardino at the Regional Center’s Christmas Party earlier this week). “One thing is for sure, I am most thankful this Christmas season for being an American,” Annette proudly exclaims. “That will never change.” Powerful and inspiring words from Annette Jacobsen as she and other vendors stand in solidarity with the recent victims of the Islamic terrorist attacks in both Paris, France and San Bernardino, California during this holiday season. A vendor fearlessly displaying her Christmas decorations next to a handmade French flag and Eiffel Tower statue captured the eyes and hearts of many spectators as everyone continued to courageously enjoy the holiday while not letting the recent pointless acts of violence damper the true spirit of Christmas.