Approximately 50 people dined with a celebrity in Spring Lake Park Dec. 14: Santa himself.
For $6 per person, the annual Parks and Recreation Santa Breakfast offered a hot meal, the opportunity to meet and get a picture with Santa and three holiday craft stations.
As those gathered gulped down their last bites of pancake, sausage and egg, Parks and Recreation Commission Vice Chairwoman Ann Radichel led everyone in singing “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” urging the kids to “kind of listen and see when Santa might come.”
Jingling bells and a “Ho Ho Ho!” signaled his arrival before kids could spot his snowy-white beard at the Kraus-Hartig VFW Post where the event was held.
Santa greeted many of the children by name before settling in his chair by a painted fireplace scene.
Kids were bouncing up and down with excitement before rushing to line up and have their pictures taken with the big guy.
Andy Hafferman, 5, explained why he came to the breakfast quite simply: “Because I love Santa.” Andy thinks Christmas is the greatest. “We get presents every time,” he said.
As soon as Annika Aalund, 6, was on Santa’s knee, she pulled out a list she had prepared. Her Christmas wishes include friendship bracelets, an iPod, Barbies, a doll house, an iPad Mini and a hat and scarf.
Parents helped their kids make picture frames to display their photos with Santa, ornaments and gingerbread houses with milk carton foundations.
“The kids are so excited,” Commission Member Barbara Harlan said looking around on Saturday. Seeing the children reminded her of her own, now all grown, when they were young, she said.
Olivia Koester is at firstname.lastname@example.org