Meeting Santa tops list of holiday fun

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2001

NATCHEZ – When 6-year-old Grace Geanfreau went to Natchez Mall recently to visit Santa Claus, she froze under pressure and could not remember her wish list.

&uot;She said, ‘I don’t want to go, because I can only think of one thing – a scooter,’&uot; said her mother, Beatrice Geanfreau. &uot;I said, ‘Then just say, &uot;A scooter and whatever else you think I should have.&uot;’&uot;

But little Grace had better luck Saturday morning at Union Street Station’s third annual Breakfast with Santa event.

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That’s because this time, she kept it general. &uot;I told him, ‘I don’t care what I get,’&uot; said Grace Geanfreau, grinning from ear to ear.

Her friend Anna Roboski, 7, was equally good-natured. &uot;I told him I want a surprise,&uot; Roboski said, unwrapping the candy cane she received from Santa.

Pat Caldwell, who owns Union Street Station with his wife, Irma, attributes the event to his son, J.P. &uot;Skipper&uot; Caldwell.

&uot;He’s the one who came up with the idea, because he’d seen it done in other places,&uot; Caldwell said.

More than 50 children, parents and grandparents attended Breakfast with Santa this year.

After eating pancakes, eggs and other breakfast goodies – or sometimes before – children piled onto Santa’s lap to whisper their gift requests and get candy canes.

Some, like 3-year-old Rebecca Geanfreau, giggled shyly; others had their lists already made out. &uot;I told him I wanted a (toy) car,&uot; said Thomas Garrity, 5.

He was accompanied by his sister Sarah, 6; brother Daniel Garrity, 2 1/2; and grandmother Liz Garrity.

But Breakfast with Santa was not the only child-centered Christmas event happening Saturday.

That day marked the start of a display of trees decorated with ornaments made by local schoolchildren at Historic Jefferson College.

Trees representing Adams County Christian School, Cathedral School, Holy Family Catholic School, Huntington School, Jefferson County Middle School, Trinity Episcopal Day School and Wilkinson County Christian School are on display in the historic site’s West Wing building.

Ornaments ranged from angels, snowmen and nutcrackers made from wooden spoons to &uot;stained glass&uot; ornaments made from colored plastic and paper plates.

The trees were also decorated featuring paper poinsettias, popsicle-stick snowflakes, crayon-colored angels and red, white and blue patriotic decorations.

The exhibit will be open free to the public through Dec. 26, excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

But those are not the end of this weekend’s Christmas events for children of all ages.

The Natchez Christmas parade, themed &uot;A Dickens Christmas,&uot; will start at 3 p.m. today, making its way from Canal and Broadway streets through downtown to Martin Luther King Jr. Street.