"It was the veterinarian who first told Clarence he needed to move to a cooler climate."
And so begins the adventures of Clarence -- a camel suffering from heat stroke who must move away from Cairo, Egypt and finds himself in Danville, Indiana.
"Clarence the Christmas Camel" is written by Philip Gulley, an accomplished author, speaker and Quaker pastor from right here in Danville. He has published several books and was approached by the Downtown Danville Partnership to write a children's Christmas story this year for the town.
Gulley obliged, and "Clarence the Christmas Camel" was published by Sycamore Printing in the form of a children's coloring book, sponsored by Waste Management. Illustrations for the story were done by several local artists and members of the community.
At the annual "Christmas on the Square" celebration on the day after Thanksgiving, Gulley's wife, Joan Gulley, read the story at the Royal Theater to all who were in attendance. It was then revealed that all of the illustrations were posted on windows of businesses around the historic Courthouse Square.
Each illustration corresponds to a page of the story, so by beginning at the Mayberry Cafe on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square and following the black camel hoof prints around the Square, a person can read all about the adventures of Clarence.
We were out of town during "Christmas on the Square," so the girls and I only recently did the walking tour. It was a hit!
We read all about Clarence's airplane trip from Egypt to the United States by way of Paris, what kind of food he likes to eat, how some people were rude to him, and how a nice woman from Danville made him feel at home in our little town.
The girls enjoyed reading each part of the story and looking at the colorful artwork. We also stopped in at the Gallery on the Square and picked up complimentary "Clarence the Christmas Camel" coloring books for each of them. (You can get them at Mayberry Cafe and at the Danville Public Library, too, as long as supplies last.)
This is a fun, free Christmas activity for the whole family, and if you go at night, you'll be dazzled by all the Christmas lights around the Square. There are lots of neat shops and eateries around the Square if you want to duck inside from time to time to get warm, do some Christmas shopping or grab a bite to eat.
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