Dec. 5—LIMA — Families of special needs children met at Shawnee United Methodist Church on Saturday for a morning of crafts, Christmas stories and gifts from Santa, one of many festive events held in the Lima area this weekend.
The Lima Rotary Club's annual Special Needs Christmas party supported more than two dozen families of children with intellectual and physical disabilities, a decades-old tradition inspired by the Rotary's crippled children's committee.
There was plenty of Christmas cheer in the church as kids decorated their own ornaments, posed for photos with Santa and listened to stories read by Mrs. Claus.
They received gifts of Play-Doh, tool sets, puzzles, makeup kits and games, donated by Rotary members. But for some children, unwrapping presents was as much fun as playing with their new gifts.
"It shows the support in the community for our children who have exceptionalities," said Jamie Duncan, whose daughter, Chelsea, attended Saturday's party. "They're feeling welcomed. The community is trying to include them."
Down the street from the church, hundreds of shoppers perused the handmade dolls, décor and baked goods for sale during the Apollo Christmas Craft Show, which supports clubs at the career center.
The festivities were everywhere Saturday as the Ohio Theatre hosted a Christmas carol sing-along, Ohio Northern University's Holiday Spectacular showcase came to the Veterans Memorial Civic Center, the Lima Police Department delivered gifts and downtown Lima shops hosted their annual Holiday Fest.
In Town Square, kids sang Christmas karaoke and posed for photos in the nativity scene. Others met the Grinch outside Joey's sub shop.
At the 318 Restaurant and Bar, families had breakfast with Santa, who also made appearances at the Lima Mall and rode alongside the LPD during their annual gift delivery drive.