MIDDLEPORT — Large groups of children visited with Santa last week when the jolly Christmas character made appearances at Middleport Village Hall.
Santa was unavailable for an interview, but Middleport Village Building Inspector Mike Hendrickson said families were lined up to talk with Santa and have a snack of cookies and juice boxes.
Hendrickson, who has a full white beard, never seems to be in the same room as Santa.
“Made my day to see kids’ faces light up like that,” he said. His goal was for every local child to get at least a little Christmas spirit, and a chat with Santa and some cookies afterwards can go a long way.
“One little guy took half a dozen, and some of them don’t get a lot at home, so it’s ‘help yourself,’” he added.
Middleport Mayor Sandy Ianarrelli said this was a test run to bring Santa to the Middleport government offices every year.
“We will start a little earlier next year with our community outreach, and it’s a great chance to have kids in the police station and see officers as a friend,” said the Mayor.
She also spoke about the Village Toy Drive, and showed the enormous collection box in the atrium filling with donated toys. The Meigs County Department of Job and Family Services, which runs Children’s Services, will wrap and distribute the gifts during Christmas.
The festive lobby also had a mailbox that sent children’s letters straight to the North Pole. Letters began arriving on the first of the month.
Just in case the real Santa did not show, Hendrickson was mostly prepared to step in. He said the iconic ‘ho ho ho’ laugh took some work, and “started as jolly green giant, but it got better all week.”
“I’ve been practicing,” he smiled.