Where to go to see Santa Claus

sokamoto@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 13, 2013 

The "real Santa," the Victorian Santa Claus can be seen at Broadway Holiday and at the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus Dec. 6-8.


Santa Claus is arriving in Columbus two weeks before turkey day.

That's right. Santa will be in town today through December.

Here are a few places to see the jolly old man.

The Landings

It's a Caribbean-themed shopping area this year as thousands of brightly hued flip flops have been made into wreaths and other decorations.

"It's whimsical," said Cathy Young, vice president of marketing for the Woodruff Co., which owns the Landings. "It's a little tacky, but it's fun and we hope to get people to come and look and talk about it. It's an escape from all the things going on in the world."

The festivities are from 5-9 p.m. Thursday and the parade starts at 5:45 p.m. at the Landings on Sidney Simons Boulevard. The parade will cross Airport Thruway and make the loop around the main Landings area before ending at Christmas Village, where Santa will have his own hut, Young said.

Leading the parade will be the Northside High School Marching Band. Alexander Electric will have a truck in the parade that will be lit up, Young said. The St. Luke School's cheerleaders and dance team will take part in the parade. The costumed characters from the various stores will also be in the parade along with Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, the Springer Opera House Stilt Walking Team, Ruffie the Jack Russell terrier, beauty queens and members of the Columbus Cottonmouths and Columbus Lions.

There will be "snow" tonight, a big movie screen that will show old Christmas movies, a mobile disc jockey providing music, horse and carriage rides and a small carousel.

Gospel singers Jonathan and Lisa Moore will perform.

"Parking is pretty hectic, so I'd recommend that you come early," Young said.

Additional parking will be across the street at the other part of the Landings. People can park there and walk across the street with the help of law enforcement officers, Young said.

Call 706-323-6401.

Peachtree Mall

Santa Claus arrives Friday night at the mall in a parade, complete with marching bands and cheerleaders.

From 5-7 p.m., there will be clowns, various characters and crafts and games for children, said Christopher McCoy, the general manager of Peachtree Mall.

The parade begins at JCPenney and winds its way through the Food Court and to Macy's before turning back and ending at Center Court.

Performers include bands from Hardaway and Northside high schools; cheerleaders from Spencer and Columbus high schools, Baker Middle School, East Columbus Magnet Academy and the Cheer Force from Fort Benning; the Russell County High School ROTC unit; students from Premier Martial Arts Studio; and characters from Chick-Fil-A and Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzel, said Kathy Lujan, the common area coordinator.

"Santa will be here until Christmas Eve when he has a few other things to do," McCoy said.

Santa will be at Center Court through Dec. 24 during mall hours — 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, with breaks at 1-2 p.m. and 5-6 p.m., and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, with a break at 2:30-3:30 p.m.

If you want your favorite fur-baby to have a picture taken with Santa, the mall allows pets from 6 to 8 p.m. on Mondays; also, 6-8 p.m. Nov. 25, Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

New this year is the Pajama Party with Santa. You can bring the children dressed in their PJs and have their picture taken with Santa. Those times are 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, also, 6-8 p.m. Nov. 26, Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17.

The Holiday Showcases featuring local musical groups will be 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday starting Dec. 3 with the final performance on Dec. 19 in the JCPenney's Court.

Call 706-327-1578.

Columbus Park Crossing

Santa Claus will show up at the large outdoor mall on Whittlesey Boulevard the day after Thanksgiving.

He'll be in the Courtyard between 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

On various days, there will be different events going on including holiday crafts and story time, music and snacks with Santa.

Call 404-869-2700.

Front Porch of the South

The largest thrift shop in town, 7607 Veterans Parkway, will feature Santa Claus starting on Nov. 29.

And Santa will be there noon-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1-6 p.m. Sunday until Dec. 22.

Call 706-576-5757.

Fort Benning

The annual Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 3 on the Field of the Four Chaplains. Before the ceremony, the Infantry Band will play holiday music.

After the lighting ceremony, military police will escort Santa Claus to Santa's Workshop.

Then between 5-7 p.m. Dec. 5, Santa will "drop in" at the annual Airborne Tower Lighting.

Call 706-545-2218.

Broadway Holiday

The Victorian Santa Claus, who often visits the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, will be in the parade on Dec. 6 that leads up to Broadway being lit for Christmas.

The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. next to the Government Center on First Avenue, turns left on 10th Street, turns right on Broadway and will end up near the huge Christmas tree in the 1100 block.

The Northside High School marching band will lead the parade.

On the 1100 block stage, singers from several schools will perform.

Elizabeth Hurst of Uptown Columbus says there will be other surprises.

Call 706-596-0111.

Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Also on Dec. 6, Santa Claus will make an appearance in the lobby of the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts.

He'll arrive at 6:30 p.m. and stay until the "Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies!" begins. The concert features the orchestra along with four vocalists singing familiar songs from Disney movies, including "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast," "Pocahontas," "Aladdin" and "The Lion King." Behind the orchestra, a big screen will show clips from various movies.

At intermission, you can visit Santa again.

"Tickets are only $5 for children (11 and younger)," said Becky Young, the CSO marketing director. "It should be a lot of fun."

Other tickets are $28-$36; $26-$31 for seniors 60 and older; $22-$25 for students, enlisted military and music educators; $10 Student Rush tickets starts at 6:30 p.m.

Call 706-256-3612.

Victorian Christmas Open House

After the Victorian Santa makes his appearance in the Uptown Columbus parade on Dec. 6, he will be at the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

Ken Johnston, the museum's executive director, said there will be other activities going on those two days, including performances by the Columbus Brass, Ali and Ani Thompson, Libba Beacham and Julian Hernandez, a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Jonathan Perkins and face painting.

It's free.

Call 706-327-9798.

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