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Chamber hosts Santa Clause at Heritage Park

By By Adam Prestridge
Santa was in his element Thursday evening at Heritage Park as a cold front moved into Atmore quickly lowering temperatures making it great weather to enjoy a nice warm cup of hot chocolate and a candy cane.
Jolly ole' St. Nick made the long trip from the North Pole with several of his elves as the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce hosted an Evening with Santa at Heritage Park. The evening gave Atmore residents the opportunity to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and to have their pictures made with him.
"This holiday event with Santa was a success," Chamber executive director Emilie Mims said. "We did not have as many families for photos with Santa as we have in the past, but I imagine the weather was somewhat of a contributing factor to that."
Dark clouds quickly began to move out as Santa and his elves arrived on Main Street atop of an Atmore Fire &Rescue Department fire truck. Parents and children greeted him with laughter and smiles as he gave them a jolly ho-ho-ho and a wave.
"The Chamber enjoys this event because unlike the Christmas parade where Santa is seen from afar, at the Watson Cabin, children have the opportunity to sit in his lap and tell him their wishes for Christmas. We also hope that the even encourages families of Atmore to remain in town for Santa photos and shop locally as well. Otherwise families may go out of town to the malls to have their picture made with Santa and do their shopping."
Katie Smith, one of Santa's elves, said Atmore was not nearly as cold as the North Pole.
"It's very cold," she said. "But it's fun. Santa is a very nice guy."
Fellow elf Kellie McGhee agreed.
"It's very cold and living with Santa is so much fun," McGhee said.
Elf Jordan Smith said she enjoyed all the fun that goes with living at the North Pole.
"The snowball fights with the other elves are really fun," she said.
All three shared one of Santa's biggest secrets. They said St. Nick prefers his hot coco shaken, not stirred.
Mims said the Chamber would like to thank Santa, who came such a long way to be a part of the evening, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians' S.A.I.L. Center for cooking "wonderful" chili and Atmore's Larry Williams for preparing hot chocolate.