Santa spends Sunday on Marco Island

Dozens of children sat mesmerized by the tricks performed by magician
Don Hill during Lunch with Santa Sunday.

Photo by Ed Bania

Dozens of children sat mesmerized by the tricks performed by magician Don Hill during Lunch with Santa Sunday.

Santa and Mrs. Claus had another busy day Sunday on Marco Island. The famous couple from the North Pole was the guest of honor at the ‘Lunch with Santa’ event hosted by the Mothers of Marco. Approximately 100 children and 100 adults attended the annual event that was held this year at the Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites.

Santa and Mrs. Claus read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas to begin the luncheon.

DJ Dominic played disco music for the children and grown-ups to dance to. One of the favorite songs was YMCA by The Village People. Dominic also had the kids find items during a scavenger hunt.

Magician Don Hill kept the kids mesmerized with tricks up his sleeve. Hill also had a magical snake wiggle out of a box.

A 50-50 raffle cash prize was given out and other prizes were provided by more than a dozen Marco Island businesses. "Usually we raise about $300 to $400 selling our tickets, so it is split in half," Missy Bailey of Mothers of Marco said.

Photo with no caption

Photo by Ed Bania

Lely High School student Callie Bennett, 14, and her 8-year-old sister Ellie, a Tommy Barfield Elementary student, sat on Santa's knee and had their picture taken.

Ellie Bennett told Santa she wanted a scooter for Christmas. When she's old enough to get a drivers license, she said she will trade the scooter in on a brand new white convertible car. She also said she wanted to be a teacher when she grows up.

Two-year-old Ava Donato, who attends Mother's Morning Out at Welsey United Methodist Church, also sat on Santa's knee. Ava told Saint Nick she wanted a doll for Christmas.

Photo with no caption

Photo by Ed Bania

Santa said he appreciated Chief of Police Roger Reinke letting him park the sleigh and reindeer behind the Urgent Care Center across Heathwood Drive from the Marco Island Fire-Rescue Department.

Unlike last year, the elves did not travel with the couple to the island. Mrs. Claus said they had to leave the little ones at the workshop to round-up more PlayStation 3's for Christmas.

"We hope to get more but I can't make any promises," Santa said.

He added that the PlayStations are "easy to carry on the sleigh because they are small and it makes it a lot easier on the reindeer."

Santa also noted that his supply of Mercedes convertibles was dwindling.

Photo with no caption

Photo by Ed Bania

Photographer H. Bradford Cox took pictures of the children with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Sponsors for the event were Allied Pavers, Empire Painting Company, The Marco Eagle, The Needles Group, Sea Tow and the Sun Times.

© 2006 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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