The holiday season is upon us, and Santa Claus made that clear when arriving to his house at Southern Plaza via a vintage fire truck Saturday morning. The weather proved too warm for the jolly, bearded gent to use his reindeer-pulled sleigh.
Santa has been a regular at Southern Plaza every year since 2001. Chris Truran, regional supervisor of Tri-Land Properties, which owns Southern Plaza, renewed the holiday attraction when working with Ashley Dilk of the former Office Depot in the center.
When the store closed, Truran and Dilk decided to continue the tradition with the help of the center’s merchants. Each Saturday after Thanksgiving, Santa (played excellently by Leroy Driscoll) can be counted on to make a grand appearance at the shopping center. Dilk plays the role of Santa’s helper, and her sister, Chelsea Angelo, is joining in the fun this year.
A line of anxious children had formed before Santa showed up.
Truran said there’s a steady crowd every Saturday and Sunday, but the wait isn’t that long. As the children visit with Santa, a photographer makes portraits available to purchase through Expressions by Bev Photography.
Santa’s House, on the west side of the plaza, 4200 S. East St., is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18. There is no charge, but canned good donations are accepted on behalf of Hunger Inc.