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Rain dampens L.A. councilman's Winter Wonderland for children [Updated]

December 7, 2009 | 10:38 am

Winter rain has dampened the mood this morning at Councilman Ed Reyes’ annual Winter Wonderland at Elysian Park.

The event for about 400 inner-city kids usually offers a taste of winter -- complete with artificial snow, a snowman and Santa -- under a clear, sunny Southern California sky. But this time, its eighth year, the councilman’s plans have been rained on.

The sled rides are closed, and the snowman -- with his top hat, red scarf and coal eyes -- is sitting sad and lonely under a large tent, said Tony Perez, a spokesman for Reyes.

Eight tons of artificial snow made this morning with the hopes that the weather would clear sat untouched as buses filled with children began to arrive. Pony rides and a petting zoo were canceled Sunday night because of the weather.

“It’s a winter wet wonderland,” Perez said. “The whole thing is going to be abbreviated.”

One school has already called to cancel, and others may be following suit, Perez said.

The kids that do show up will still be greeted by clowns and puppeteers, and Santa will be there to give out gifts, although he will not be appearing in a fire truck as he has in years past, Perez said.

[Updated at 12:45 p.m.: Reyes said he and staff began as early as Friday to come up with alternative plans in case of rain. He awoke early this morning to rain pounding on his roof and knew they would have to work fast.

In the end, all activities were moved inside the Grace E. Simmons Lodge, and most of the children still attended. Preoccupied with puppet shows, face painting and Santa, few seemed interested in the icy white mound down the road, which remained off limits beneath a white awning.

"So many young kids anticipate this, no way we could cancel," Reyes said.]

-- Victoria Kim and Jill Leovy