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Chestnut Ridge Park hosts Art in the Park

Is Hallmark hiring?

We’re only asking because the Egidi siblings of Morgantown (Charlotte, Isaac and Dominic) are available and can start work today.

So can their friend, Abby Kingora.

The quartet was applying its water color wizardry on a cold Sunday afternoon at Chestnut Ridge Park.

Each offering could have been a greeting card onto its own.

Charlotte, 6, was imaging a fanciful Santa and his reindeer, caught in a Christmas Eve arc across the sky, while a Frosty-type snowman cheered on the flight.

Ten-year-old Isaac, meanwhile, was casting Impressionistic: Boughs of holly, intermingled in a swirl of color.

Dominic, 12, was in the process of rendering an aerodynamic Santa-sleigh that was tons more high-tech and sleek than the one we’re used to seeing.

And Abby? Well, the 11-year-old had just dashed off an Elf on the Shelf, who looked more than ready to take up residence at your place this season.

Sunday was the annual Art in the Park gathering at Chestnut Ridge Park.

The wooded expanse is just 10 miles east of Morgantown, in a setting that could serve as any Currier and Ives backdrop.

Art, by its nature

Nestled between Coopers Rock State Forest and WVU’s research forest, the whole deal takes in 16,000 acres. Acres, that, on this day, really were, well, beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

A dusting of snow covered the forest floor, while the branches of old-growth oak, poplar and hemlock trees did a calligraphy reach against the gray sky.

“Well, it’s definitely not Iowa,” park Superintendent Amy Hettick laughed, as she compared the place to her home state. “It’s just beautiful, with the trees and the green and hills.”

If the weather doesn’t cooperate in coming weeks, she said, the park will employ some snow-making technology to cover some of that green.

That’s so its signature Toboggan Festival can commence without rescheduling — as its been forced to do in recent years.

For the initiated, the Toboggan Festival, which is usually held around February, is a headlong rush that ensues down a 350-foot slope, just to show that gravity can have a sense of humor when it wants to.

The park is also home to year-‘round concerts, not to mention its famous Fishing Rodeo every spring.

“We always have something going,” the superintendent said. “We want people to really enjoy this place.”

Santa gives assessment — Dominic tries not to be an art critic

“Enjoy,” is the watch-word for the Egidi family and Chestnut Ridge Park, said Sharon Egidi, who is mom to Charlotte, Isaac and Dominic.

“You’ve got the trails and the trees and its right next door to Morgantown,” she said. “My kids love it here. As a family, we love doing things outdoors.”

Except on this day, when everything was happening indoors.

Around 15 youngsters, including the Egidi kids and Abby, worked on their art, while Hettick, a former teacher, looked on approvingly.

WVU students Aubrey Young and Kinsey Hershberger volunteered their time by cleaning paint brushes and doling out hot chocolate. It was a great way to cut the stress of upcoming finals, both said.

The subject of a lot of the art, meanwhile, was also giving stress a mini-vacation.

Santa, himself, was seated in a corner, holding casual consults when an artist took a break.

“They’re just reminding me what’s on their list,” he said.

“This year, its dinosaurs and remote-control airplanes. Some things don’t go out of style.”

Artistic style was definitely being displayed by the Egidi kids, meanwhile.

“My dad was an artist,” Sarah Egidi said. “I didn’t get the gene, but his grandkids did. Charlotte even did a rough draft of what she wanted to do before we got here today.”

“Yeah,” Dominic said, while grinning and trying not to sound too rueful for the Yule at the same time.

“She’s always prepared.”