Island youth spend a morning with St. Nick

Lloyd and Dawn Sutton's foster son did the same thing any baby would do their first time on Santa's lap. He didn't cry, scream or put up a fuss; instead the 7-month-old went straight for the beard.

Savia Quinn gives Santa's bird a tug as she looks unsure whether to give him her Christmas yearnings, or cry.

Photo by SANDY WHEELER, Eagle staff

Savia Quinn gives Santa's bird a tug as she looks unsure whether to give him her Christmas yearnings, or cry.

"That's the second time a baby did that today," a Mackle Park volunteer said with a laugh.

But on Saturday morning, Santa didn't mind getting his beard pulled, as long as he was able to spend a few hours with the good boys and girls of Marco Island.

"We do this every year," said Lloyd.

"(We do it because) we get the time to sit with Santa and visit with him. Everywhere else they just rush you away," Dawn explained.

Marco Island Department of Parks and Recreation hosted its annual Cookies and Milk with Santa Saturday morning. And while the weather outside was frightful, Santa took a few hours out of his busy week to play with island children, and adults, who braved the weather to visit with him.

Jayce Buis reviews his Christmas list with Santa at the Cookies with Santa at Mackle Park on Saturday.

Photo by SANDY WHEELER, Eagle staff

Jayce Buis reviews his Christmas list with Santa at the Cookies with Santa at Mackle Park on Saturday.

"(This) is something families look forward to each year," said Mindy Matusiak, recreation program supervisor for the department. "Within the two hour time span, we usually have around 100 to 200 kids and adults attend."

Attendance at this year's event was expected to be lower because of the weather, though, Matusiak said.

But the steady rain didn't stop the Suttons and their children, Knowlt, 10, and Zylea, 8, from venturing out.

"This event is popular in that all children love Santa, especially when there's a chance to see him and enjoy a fun morning with him," Matusiak said. "It's hard not to pass up an opportunity such as this one."

Six-year-old Olivia Wivestad and her brother Ian, 4, couldn't miss another opportunity to tell Santa that they wanted a Gameboy for Christmas. With a little over a week before the big day, she wanted to make sure he knew she had behaved all year.

"We do all of the programs over here," said Tracy Wivestad, the children's mother.

The family moved to the island from Orlando a few months ago and has spent a lot of time at the park since their move, Wivestad said. While it was their first time at Cookies and Milk with Santa, Wivestad said it wouldn't be their last.

"We love it here," she said.

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

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