MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- The Single Marine Program and Marine Corps Community Services special events branch joined forces to bring the station a little Christmas cheer Dec. 16 in the form of a Ho, Ho, Ho Down on the station parade field.
Part Christmas party and part traditional country get-together, the Ho, Ho, Ho Down offered Marines, sailors and their families a chance to celebrate the holidays in a different way, thanks in part to Yuma’s natural lack of snow.
“We thought the holiday season is kind of drab being here in Yuma,” said Angie Marchman, SMP/special events coordinator. “It’s all desert and no snow, so it doesn’t feel like a holiday. So about two months ago, we decided to try to lift spirits a little for those people here in Yuma.”
A traditional holiday party would be a bit out of place without snow, but the timing worked out just right to inspire the right twist for Yuma, said Marchman.
“We got a proposition from a country band that said they were going to perform for free, and so we thought, ‘Country band, we’ll have a ho-down,’” said Marchman. “And then we thought, ‘No, we’ll have a Christmas Ho, Ho, Ho Down!’”
The idea of giving the normal Christmas party a distinctly southwestern twist was a great one, said Lance Cpl. Tatiana Sandoval, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron traffic management specialist and native of Rockford, Ill. With no snow and with the surrounding farming community, the ho-down was a perfect fit.
“It was cool that they decided to do something other than just a normal Christmas party,” said Cpl. Jeremy Grill, H&HS travel claims noncommissioned officer-in-charge and native of Ashland, Wis. “Usually it’s all just the same stuff, but this year for Christmas, I got to ride a pony!”
Currently, Marchman is planning to make the Ho, Ho, Ho Down an annual event, but she is thinking about making some changes.
“We’ll probably try to scoot it up a little to where it’s not as cold,” said Marchman. “It’s also a Friday night. A lot of people are leaving for the holidays.”
The event was free for those in attendance, with refreshments and activities provided for the entire family to enjoy.
“We had No Small Affair come in, and they have the clowns that do the face painting, the balloon animals, the cotton candy and the popcorn,” said Marchman. “We also had Country Junction come in with simulated steer roping, the bouncy boxer, the live music, the tractor rides and snacks.”
In all, the event was a success in the eyes of Marchman, although she always hopes to make things better.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Sandoval. “You have the usual parties with your shop and squadron, but this was something different and something I won’t forget. The other parties are nice, but this is the only Christmas party I’ve ever been to where there were (tractor) rides and the chance to try my hand at lassoing a cow.”