A Night with Santa

Published 6:44 pm Monday, December 5, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Santa Claus sure knows how to make a grand entrance.
The Jolly Ole' Fat Man arrived in Atmore Thursday evening riding atop a fire truck as he was the guest of honor during the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Santa in the Park.
"We had twice as many people show up than last year," Chamber director Emilie Mims said. "It was a tremendous success. The line at 4:30 p.m. was already down the steps of the cabin. We knew then, since it wasn't scheduled to begin until 5 p.m., that we should expect a great night. It stayed pack. The lines were in the room, around the porch and down the steps all night."
As soon as Santa stepped foot off the fire truck, he had to make his way inside Watson Cabin at Heritage Park to begin posing for photos with anxious children of all ages. Photographer T.J. Clayton, owner of Captured Moments, was on hand taking pictures of St. Nick and more than 100 children that shared with him what they want under the Christmas tree this year.
"T.J. Clayton is very much the professional," Mims said. "She worked very hard to make sure every family got a great picture."
Mims said Friday that she was unsure of how many children had pictures taken, but did state that the 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. event ended at 8:40 p.m.
The Poarch Band of Creek Indians' SAIL Center prepared six gallons of chili that was served for free, along with more than 10 gallons of hot chocolate, soft drinks and cookies. Children also received a candy cane from Santa's elves. Mims said the free treats were simply Christmas gifts from the Chamber.
"The weather was nice," Mims said. "It was a little chilly and it got everybody in the Christmas spirit. I was glad it was a little cold. It made it cozier in cabin for everybody."
Watson's cabin was lit up by Christmas lights. Children could also take train rides for free throughout the evening.
"Everybody was so complimentary of the way the cabin and Christmas tree looked and about the free train rides, chili and Pepsi. We had several children come over and thank the Chamber for doing this and said they had a good time. I think the parents really appreciated it.

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