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Children at Lakewood Ranch school shout for snow

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Some had never seen snow, but the kids were able to put aside such irrelevant details and convincingly begged for the white stuff, anyway.

“Please send snow!” they screeched before a video camera Tuesday on the playground at the Primrose School of Lakewood Ranch.

Most of the 200 or so youngsters attending the school turned out for a video shoot aimed at winning The Weather Channel’s “White Christmas Contest.” On Christmas Day, the grand prize winner will be provided real snow, along with $15,000 in cash and other prizes, according to The Weather Channel website at www.weather.com/whitechristmas.

The local video also includes idyllic shots of Sarasota’s Siesta Key, one of the nation’s most celebrated beaches; and shots of Lakewood Ranch Main Street, a shopping venue in East Manatee.

The finished video is one minute long and probably will turn up within a day or two alongside other entries on The Weather Channel website, said Candice McElyea, director of marketing and public relations for Lakewood Ranch/Schroeder Manatee Ranch.

“The kids were so cute today,” McElyea said. “To see 200 little kids ages 2-6 all screaming ‘please send snow!’ -- it was adorable.”

“If we win, the whole town is invited,” she said.

The contest is dubbed “Live Guaranteed White Christmas.” It promises a lucky winner “their own winter wonderland, courtesy of The Weather Channel,” according to the website.

In addition to the grand prize winner’s $15,000, two finalists will win $2,500 each, the website said.

The contest began Nov. 8 and concludes Sunday.

McElyea and her friend, Sharon Frank, owner-operator of the Primrose School, saw ads for the contest and decided to give it a whirl.

“We thought how neat it would be for the kids who have not seen snow before to get this opportunity,” said McElyea.

Tuesday’s balmy, 80-degree temperatures and the area’s predictably sunny disposition played a part in their plan.

“We thought that, being in Florida, living in paradise, would be an excellent opportunity to be creative and see if we can’t convince The Weather Channel to bring a White Christmas to Lakewood Ranch,” Frank said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.

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