The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Zoo set to host Christmas Nites

 

December 9, 2018

File photo

Hillcrest Park Zoo Assistant Director Mark Yannotti decorates a Christmas tree in preparation for the zoo's 2016 Christmas Nites event.

CLOVIS - Karaoke, cocoa and Christmas lights will be the draw for thousands of residents to Hillcrest Park Zoo this week as it gets set to host the 11th annual Christmas Nites event.

In addition to the regular business hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the zoo will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday with hundreds of Christmas lights illuminating the zoo.

"These guys get pretty worn out by Friday. It feels like Groundhog Day, but we enjoy it," Zoo Director Vince Romero said of the zoo staff, which hung the majority of the lights with a little help from volunteers at Cannon Air Force Base.

The event is free to attend, though Romero said donations are accepted, which go toward upkeep of the zoo. Close to 3,000 people attended last year's four-day event.

He said a karaoke machine stocked with Christmas carols, games for kids with candy prizes and free hot cocoa will be available each night, while the highlight on Friday will be a 7 p.m. performance by the La Casita Elementary folklorico dancers.

La Casita Elementary kindergarten teacher and folklorico instructor Rubisela Lucatero said, "This is our second year doing it so they were so excited to do it again."

Lucatero said because the customs of the folklorico dances are so unique, there's not much that can be changed to incorporate the holiday spirit, though the dancers will wear bracelets that light up, which should help the audience see what's going on given the performance is at night.

Lucatero said Friday night's show is a great chance to support the folklorico dancers and learn about their culture, while Romero said the event as a whole gives residents something to do during the week.

"Show up to the zoo, see some lights, drink some hot cocoa, see your friends out here," Romero said. "Instead of staying home watching TV or playing on your phone, come out to the zoo."

 
 

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