Holidays to shift into high gear on Santa Saturday
Santa Claus makes all kinds of public promotional appearances throughout the holiday season, but often times children are left wondering, “Was that the real Santa? Or was it just one of his helpers, who looks like him?”
Well, on ‘Santa Saturday” this weekend at the Carnegie Cultural Center, children will leave “knowing” they have visited the real Santa.
Santa will appear live from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the CCC, all decked out in his Santa gear, after a direct flight from the North Pole. Children will be encouraged to bring a wish list, and candy canes and photo opportunities will be available. In the background of the photos will be the Carnegie’s latest exhibit, a “Bookie Christmas,” which features Christmas displays made from books, put together by public libraries all over Chickasaw County. The fireplace in the background has been constructed from vintage encyclopedias.
The Santa Saturday festivities begin with the fourth annual Great Plays Daycare Santa Store, which allows children to buy gifts for family and friends, at the New Hampton Community Center, located across from Fareway and next to Kwik Star in New Hampton, from 9 a.m. to noon. All items will be sold for under $5, with the proceeds going to Great Plays.
“It’s not necessarily a big money-maker for us,” said Lacy Carolan, who works with Great Plays, which is New Hampton’s only daycare center and is a non-profit organization. “It’s more for community engagement — it’s for the kids, it gives the kids a purpose.”
Carolan said that the children can come in and shop by themselves while parents wait for them in the entryway. “Elves” can take the children around and help them select gifts to purchase for parents, siblings, teachers and friends.
“It’s for the enjoyment of the kids,” Carolan said. “They can make decisions themselves.”
Much of the merchandise has been donated, some of it has been made or brought in by board members, and it includes toys, crafts, jewelry, scarves, decorations, books, games and coloring books, among many other items, all priced at $5 or less.
Although the numbers vary, in previous years between 200 and 300 kids have shown up, according to Carolan.
“We haven’t run out of items yet,” she said.”I believe we’ve started with 500 items, we’re well-stocked.”
Patrons are also encouraged to enjoy a lunch, dinner or snack at one of New Hampton’s many local eating establishments before they drive to Mikkelson Park to enjoy the first ignition of the “This Little Light of Mine” lights display, which is scheduled for 5 p.m.
The CCC will also be hosting “Make it and Take it” stations, where one can make an ornament from polymer clay, create it and leave it to be baked. The finished ornament can be picked up the following weekend for $3.
Visitors can also decorate Christmas cookies, with lots of colorful sprinkles provided to adorn the children’s masterpieces.
Vintage New Hampton Christmas Coloring books from real advertisements from days gone by are for sale to benefit the Carnegie. All the supplies and tools are provided.
CCC director Jill Eike said she expects more than 150 kids to show up, so residents are advised to arrive early.
TriMark donated gifts to the Carnegie that will be given away as door prizes throughout Santa’s time at the CCC, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Winners from each of the age categories (3-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-10 years) will choose wrapped presents suitable for that child’s age.