For the 42nd time local 4-H'ers, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts gathered for an annual Christmas party funded by a bequest from a longtime Lawrence businessman.
Lured by song, dance, a storyteller and candy, about 1,400 local children turned out Saturday for the annual Bromelsick Christmas Party.
Attendance was up from last year's total of about 1,300, said Sarah Williams, one of the organizers of the event. And it was partly because of the new location, Kansas University's new Lied Center, Williams said.
"I think a lot of people haven't been to the Lied Center and wanted to come to see it," Williams said. "I think it's wonderful. It's a beautiful theater. I think this is conducive to better performances."
The annual party had been held for years at KU's Hoch Auditorium, but after Hoch burned, the party was moved to Lawrence High School's gymnasium until this year.
The party is made possible by a bequest of the late Alfred Bromelsick, a long-time Lawrence businessman who left his entire estate to benefit the youth of Lawrence when he died in 1950. The annual party is mandated in his will.
Mariana Remple, a Girl Scout leader who has been to 41 of the parties, agreed that putting on the party in the Lied Center brought out more people this year.
"This is fine. This is tremendous. It's a real coup," Remple said. "This says a great deal about Mr. Bromelsick as a person."
This year, the Boy Scouts were in charge of the treats, Girl Scouts were in charge of the general arrangements and putting up the tree and 4-H clubs were in charge of the program.
Saturday's program featured performances by the South Singers, under the direction of Janeal Krehbiel; the Dance Gallery Jazz and Tap Troupe, under the direction of Karen Fender, and Priscilla Howe, a professional storyteller.
"I like the program," said Chris Chapin, a Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster helping out at the event. "I think it gives some of the young people in Lawrence an opportunity to perform and at the same time, some of the younger ones an opportunity to watch something like this."
Chapin said having the party at the Lied Center helped attract more children to the party. And he praised Bromelsick for his vision.
"I think it's a tremendous tribute to a man to set something like this up," Chapin said. "The generosity is just amazing. It's too bad there aren't more people like that."