BY PAUL PRADO
For the Record Gazette
It is getting chilly, and what better way to spend the day than at Gilman Ranch.
On Dec. 11 the Gilman Historic Ranch opened its gates to the public to have an Old Tyme Christmas.
The festive event afforded visitors a chance to chat with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the museum.
Stagecoach rides were also available.
It was a full day of food, fun and entertainment.
“Our event today is a partnership between the City of Banning’s Park and Recreation District, the Gilman Ranch Hands and the Riverside County Regional Park,” said historical preservation officer Tony Pierucci.
“This is a great opportunity for the local residents to come and enjoy all the ranch has to offer for the first time. We’re about connecting the community with the ranch. Every day, people drive by and they never knew that the ranch is here because it is set back from the roadway.”
Pierucci said that these types of events are a way to reach out to the community.
“Today is Christmas at the ranch celebration,” said Steve Lech, a member of the Gilman Ranch Hands volunteer group. “Today is a great way to show off the ranch. It’s a great family day for everybody.”
There were plenty of holiday craft activities for the young and young at heart.
Volunteer Celest Alcala was at a craft table helping youngsters make Christmas cards.
“This is a festive event for sure,” said Alcala. “It’s nice to see people here. I think it’s cute that the kids are making crafts. It’s great when the kids have creative freedom.”
With their red, white and gold uniforms and pom poms, the Cal Youth Spirit Corps. (CYSP) Cheerleaders were on hand to lift your spirits and put a smile on your face.
Inez Dailey came to watch her daughter cheer.
“I love it,” said Dailey. “This is her first year doing this.”
A local resident, Dailey was surprised to learn about Gilman Ranch.
“I’ve lived here all of my life, and I’ve never visited the ranch,” Dailey said. “I’m glad they had this event today. There is a lot of history here.”
Dance teacher Maddy Irving had three of her ballet classes perform for the attending crowd.
Irving, a dance teacher at the Banning Community Center, was delighted to showcase the talents of her students.
“This is a good opportunity for the kids to dance in front of an audience,” Irving said. “The pandemic has kept everyone indoors. This is a way for the students to show off their skills and what they have learned as a group in public. The parents to love dress up their children in cute costumes and see them dance.”
Banning resident Katie Moruzzi came to watch her daughters Scarlet and Abigail cheer with CYSC by the gazebo area.
“I love it,” Moruzzi said. “I really enjoy this event at the ranch. I think the performances by the children were cute. My daughters performed with the CYSC group today. We’ve been coming to this event for the last three years. I’m glad that it’s available.”
There was also entertainment from a singing trio and a karate group.