Aubree LeTourneau, Gabby Smith, Brinlee Letourneau visit with Santa Claus at the Waldo caboose on Dec. 15. (Photo special to Alachua County Today)
WALDO – Christmas music played and Christmas lights were lit at the Waldo caboose to welcome Santa this year. More than 250 adults and children were on hand to see Santa as he was escorted into town by police and fire trucks.
Once he got to his chair, Santa sat patiently throughout the evening listening to children who were overjoyed to tell him exactly what gifts they hopped to see under their tree on Christmas morning.
Children had three opportunities to receive gift items during the evening.
As the children and their parents were waiting to see Santa, they were enticed to play age-specific Christmas Trivia. Adult winners might go home with a brand new coffee pot and a set of mugs to go with it, a crock pot complete with an appropriate cookbook or barbecue equipment and a barbecue cookbook. Children might receive flippy cars or stuffed animals or any one of a dozen other items available if they answered questions correctly.
Babies and children up to the age of 12 received approximately 100 gifts provided by the City of Waldo, their sponsors and citizen volunteers after they spoke with Santa.
A drawing at the end of the night provided additional gifts for those who stayed, including tricycles, various sized bicycles, pop-up-tents for kids, little card tables, skate boards, scooters and even more stuffed animals.
“The whole event is made possible by the City of Waldo and sponsors like Florida Power & Light, WCA Waste Corporation, Waldo Farmers & Flea Market, Waldo Motorsports, J & S Accounting, Mittauer & Associates, Inc. Engineers and local citizens who donated money and time,” said City Manager Kim Worley.
Worley and Recreation Director Erika Smith shopped all year long for this event, keeping an eye out for sales to help make the money go further.
In addition to providing gifts for the children, this effort will help to provide a dozen local families with food and gifts this year.
Sponsorship donations also allow the City to provide gift cards to the Waldo Senior Center. “We have about 22 seniors this year to help out,” said Worley.
“Erika and I will be back at it, shopping after-Christmas sales, to begin getting gifts for next year's visit from Santa at the caboose,” said Worley.
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