There will be plenty of places in Columbia County for children to find Santa this year and present their wish lists to the jolly old elf.
Elementary schools and the city of Harlem soon will offer breakfasts with Santa. The events, many of which include a holiday bazaar, are aimed at raising funds for the schools, while Harlem's Christmas in the Heart of Downtown Harlem is geared to promote hometown shopping.
Kicking the events off with a visit from Santa is fun, said Harlem City Administrator Jean Dove.
"It starts the day with that someone special who everyone looks forward to seeing each year," said Dove. "Children are excited to see Santa and they can let him know what their Christmas wishes are. He brings the Christmas Spirit with him."
For Cedar Ridge Elementary School, the event is a celebration of children.
"Since this is our first year, we are trying to raise money to pay for our new playground equipment, but we also wanted to do something that would bring our school and community together," said Olga Cagle, the school's Parent-Teacher Organization vice president. "Maybe it will put a smile on the face of a child who might not be able to visit Santa any other way."
The first Cedar Ridge Elementary breakfast with Santa will include biscuits from Chick-fil-A, juice and hot chocolate. Children will have an opportunity to get their picture taken with Santa and parents will be able to do some holiday shopping. Vendors will be set up and a silent auction will be conducted. Money from the silent auction will go to the school's Relay for Life team.
There is an admission "charge" for the Cedar Ridge event: a toy for the school's Toys for Tots collection.
"There will be several people who will benefit from this, but mostly the children," Cagle said.
At Stevens Creek Elementary, the breakfast will feature a holiday concert by the school's chorus. The event will also serve as the kickoff of the school's Mistletoe Market.
"We are fortunate to have our chorus perform a wonderful holiday concert during breakfast," said Jeriann Benton, the PTO president. "Mistletoe Market is a little holiday store for our students to shop for family and friends. Things are priced with our students' pocketbooks in mind. The entire program from the breakfast to the market is very enjoyable."
Benton said the Santa breakfast has continued to be a big hit at Stevens Creek.
"All profits go to our PTO which directly supports our Spanish program, enrichment programs, technology upgrades and all other perused schoolwide improvements."
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