The Avenues’ Santa Watch: Look to the sky

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By Elaine Omann
mail@floridanewsline.com

On Friday evening, Nov. 4, a crowd had formed in the lot of The Avenues Mall. Word was out that Santa was arriving by special helicopter between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. This well-known celebrity was highly anticipated by the very young and the not so young. A secure spot was marked off for landing and guarded by first responders, including police, security guards, fireman and mall security. Families gathered in the area with their eyes open to the sky and listening for that sound announcing his arrival.

During the waiting time the crowd kept busy with holiday activities sponsored by local businesses, organizations and vendors. There was a snow machine and snow cones to delight the viewers. A very tall man on stilts posed for photos with children and families, the face painting took on themes with sparkles and holiday images and a choir group on the main stage performed holiday songs with a big sing-along for Rudolph.

Two-year-old Aaron took a nap on his mom’s shoulder as his six-year-old sister posed for a picture. This was their first time spending the evening at the mall to see Santa and the family had learned about the community event from posts by friends on Facebook. The little guy woke up in time to see the landing.

Special organizations represented their causes at booths and tables. There was a Santa hat on a cow face mask being worn by many and a few Christmas sweaters. The workers keeping the area cleaned up put on their Santa hats and smiles as the excitement mounted. The line to the mall train was the longest and as many riders as possible boarded for a short train while awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Cameras and phones were pointed upwards as a spot of light began its descent. Children were put on shoulders or held up to get a closer look as Santa landed and exited the helicopter. Shouts of “Santa! Santa!” could be heard as the crowd followed the man in the red suit to the stage where he greeted the crowd, which pushed closer for a better photo. He left the stage after his announcement and boarded the mall train to make his way inside as the crowd followed to get a closer look and more photos.

The Avenues’ event calendar has more special events with Santa, including Santa Pet Photo Nights that are scheduled for after hours. Various community events are planned and the Holiday Musical Series is held Dec. 1 – 24.

Don’t miss out on Santa; join with your family in other events by visiting www.simon.com/mall/the-avenues/news-and-events for more information.

Photo courtesy Elaine Omann

Santa greets the crowd outside The Avenues.