Santa listens to wish lists at the Belknap Mall



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Three-year-old Logan Ash was very excited to talk with Santa at the Belknap Mall on Friday. Donna Rhodes. (click for larger version)
December 02, 2009
BELMONT — Neither rain nor wind nor the gloom of a storm could keep Santa from brightening the day for children at the Belknap Mall on Black Friday. His elves had set up a snowy scene to get everyone in the holiday mood where Santa sat ready to greet the children who were out shopping with their families.

Three-year-old Logan Ash of Newport had driven up to shop with his grandparents when they stumbled upon jolly old St. Nick. Logan quickly got in line to talk with Santa and tell him all about the new truck he had just bought. He said afterward that Santa might bring him and his 9-month-old sister Caitlyn some other toys for Christmas, too.

"Maybe he'll bring me a (toy) gun. Or, maybe a little saw or something like that," he speculated.

Logan didn't seem to think the rainy day was any problem for Santa. Of course, reindeer and a sleigh wouldn't work without snow, but Logan shrugged and decided he must have just flown in on a plane instead.

"And he has his hat to keep him dry, too," he said.

Children who visited with Santa were treated to a Santa pin and some candy after their time with the Big Guy. Santa's elf had plenty of goodies tucked away for the boys and girls and was kept busy acting as photographer, too. For $5 children could have their photo taken and placed in a special holiday card to take home with them. She made sure everyone walked away smiling, she said.

Abby and Maggie Shute had a couple of unusual Christmas wishes. Abby wanted a stuffed pig that "oinks" but she and her sister both wanted a bell to ring. Mom was surprised at their wish but was glad they took the time to tell Santa about it to be sure he knew.

"That's one I hadn't heard them mention," Marie Shute said.

The mall also was the scene for other holiday fun for children. At Shaw's they could have their faces painted, and Northway Bank set up a coloring table so kids could enter a contest for prizes. Customers will view the pictures on display at the bank and select the winners. Brooke and Colby Vetter of Belmont got their faces painted, then colored their pictures as they gradually worked their way to where Santa awaited them. Mom Jodie said they come every year to the mall.

"Their first priority was to get their faces painted. We'll get to Santa next. We come here to do this every year," she said.

General Manager of Belknap Mall Paige Quigley said Santa will be on hand each weekends along with other special holiday events from now until Christmas. Local entertainment is planned with Edgewater Dance Academy, a performance by Granite State Music, the Inferno Cheer group and the Belmont Elementary School's fourth grade choir. Many stores, Quigley said, will also host special sales and promotions to create a real mall-wide community of events.

One such event was the New Hampshire Humane Society Adopt-a-thon held last weekend. Excited barks could be heard throughout the mall as pets found new homes for the holidays. One family of three children had come down to the mall to see what pets were available when they discovered Santa had arrived, too.

Jessica Cyrus, mom of the group, said she didn't know Santa was going to be there, too, but that the three certainly had some thoughts for gifts this year.

Six-year-old Amethyst Phelps wanted to tell Santa to bring her a drum set but 9-year-old Torrey was sticking with their animal theme of the day, wishing for a gray kitten for Christmas. Four-year-old Chanz thought for a minute but probably came up with the easiest wish to fulfill.

"I know! I want a lot of toys for Christmas," he said with a broad smile before heading off to give Santa the news.

Santa will be at the Belknap Mall on Saturdays from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 4 p.m. until Dec. 20.

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