Santa arrives

Published 12:34 pm Monday, November 19, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Santa Claus made his annual stop in Niles on Saturday at the Riverfront Amphitheater to find out what area children have on their wish lists this year.
More than 500 children bundled up in winter coats, scarves and gloves to have their chance to sit on Santa's lap. iPod's, remote control cars and video gaming systems seem to be the hot items on everyone's list this year.
According to Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Sather, this is the 24th year for the event, which draws families and children from all over the area.
"It was pretty chilly this year, but children still ventured out," he said.
Sather said it was obvious children are becoming "more high-tech. So many children had lists for Santa and a lot of them even gave him their e-mail address," he said.
Kelsey McMueler, 6, and her parents, Richard and Debbie, traveled from Paw Paw just to see Santa.
"Everywhere else you go you have to pay to just sit on his lap, then you have to pay a lot more to get pictures. It's ridiculous. We found out about Niles three years ago and have been coming since. The people are very friendly and you even get free hot chocolate and donuts. It's really a great thing that Niles does," Debbie said.
Kelsey asked Santa for an Amazing Amanda doll, which has realistic features and looks like a real baby. Her moods depend on the time of day and she can show emotions and interact with conversations.
Jordan Mitchell, 6, a student at Brandywine, was ready to talk when it was his turn with Santa.
"I want a backpack full of hot wheels and a remote control jet that flies high in the air," he said.
Eight-month-old Tristan Bower, who will be celebrating his first Christmas, couldn't quite tell Santa what he wanted, but he dressed for the holiday in a reindeer outfit.
Chase Anderson, 9, has his heart set on a Nintendo Wii gaming system.
"It looks like so much fun and all of my friends have one and we play it a lot," he said.
"The school systems do a great job of getting the word out about this event. They hand out the fliers so the children can take them to their parents. It's really a great community effort," Sather added.
With next year being the 25th year, Sather said it's time to start planning for something extra special.