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Joshua Thomas
Fort Plain High School's Harmony group sings carols from the Haslett Park bandstand Sunday as attendees look on.

Joshua Thomas
Julieanne Sincavage leads Fort Plain High School's Harmony from the Haslett Park Bandstand.

Joshua Thomas
From left, Aidan Guile, Troy Butler, and Darius Priddle await Santa's arrival in Haslett Park Sunday.

Joshua Thomas
Attendees sing carols while they wait for Santa Claus to arrive at Haslett Park.

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Santa makes appearances throughout Fort Plain

Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - Updated: 8:23 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- Families gathered in Haslett Park on Sunday evening, basking in the glow of the brightly lit, recently installed, holiday decorations, to join Fort Plain Central School District's Harmony in a spirited singalong.

Santa's impending arrival was first announced by Harmony Director Julieanne Sincavage, and next by the sirens of a Fort Plain Fire Department vehicle, which ceremoniously, with flashing lights, delivered Santa to the edge of Haslett Park, where he emerged, waving and ho-ho-ho-ing.

Children ran toward Santa, hugging him, saying hello, and shaking his hand. Parents introduced babies to Santa for the first time, including six-month-old Mya Nichols, who, at only six months old, looked at Santa with a humorously confused face that her mother explained was "awe". Others quickly made their way to the hay wagon across the street in the Fort Plain True Value Parking Lot, which offered free rides, courtesy of Rob and Shirley Hudyncia, to the Fort Plain Methodist Church. 

As a long line formed at the church, a box of wrapped presents waiting to be opened next to Santa's still empty throne, the jelly bellied traveller from the North Pole entered the room to squeals of excitement and immediately began meeting children, taking gift requests and passing out presents.

This year's event was again sponsored by the Fort Plain Community Activities Council, who have planned it for over a decade, first under the direction of Audrey Lamphere, who group Event Coordinator James Katovitch explained "really enjoyed this celebration." Lamphere, he said, would shop for all the presents and wrap them herself, thrilled to be able to see the kids' smiling faces.

This year, attendance was significantly up from last year, from 75 to 125. Last year's cold, rainy weather forced the cancellation of the portion of the event taking place in Haslett Park.

This year's Event Chair Ryann Young purchased and wrapped 150 gifts for the kids, which included coloring books, crayons and toys. Members of the United Methodist Church of Fort Plain hosted the event, handing out hot chocolate, cookies (donated by Freihofer's) and cider from Pavlus Orchards.

The Fort Plain Community Activities Council has set up a Santa's mailbox in front of NBT Bank. "The elves are all lined up to make sure the letters get to Santa so he can write a reply," said Katovitch, noting that kids can submit letters until Dec. 23.

Joshua Thomas - An excited young boy greets Santa as he arrives.

Joshua Thomas - Six-month-old Mya Nichols meets Santa Claus for the first time.

Joshua Thomas - Rob Hudyncia loads a hay wagon full of people to transport to the Fort Plain Methodist Church.

Joshua Thomas - Prior to Santa Claus' arrival, a line forms at the United Methodist Church of Fort Plain.

Joshua Thomas - Madison Lewis meets Santa Claus.

Joshua Thomas - Kiera St. Louis tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas.

     

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