Norah Nelson meets Santa Claus at Potawatomi Park Saturday.

Photo by Nick Fiala

RENSSELAER — Crowds of locals walked Saturday through Potawatomi Park for the Rensselaer Park’s Department’s first Frosty Fest event, as well as the city’s second Holiday Tree Trail.

The Holiday Tree Trail doubled as a contest in which people could vote for their favorite tree by leaving a non-disposable food item below it. This food would then be donated to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry. In the meantime, locals also lined up to meet Santa and enjoy other activities.

According to the Rensselaer Parks Department, the trees that brought in the most food were IBEC in first place, Chief Buildings in second place and the Science Buddies Tree from Rensselaer Central Middle School and Van Rensselaer Elementary School in third place.

“The Good Samaritan Food Pantry will be receiving a large load of food,” the department stated after thanking the participants.

“I would say it was very well attended,” Park Superintendent Joe Effinger later said of the evening’s activities. “Several hundred people, I would say, went through there.”

Mayor Stephen Wood agreed.

“This is only the second year we’ve done it and it seemed pretty successful this year,” he said of the tree trail, “and I think we’re going to have more trees and more attendees next year.”

The First Presbyterian Church’s chili supper event, held around the same time, was also packed with participants who lined up to enjoy some warm food in exchange for donations to the Rensselaer Volunteer Fire Department.