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Morning Sun
  • Santa arrives to Pittsburg area

  • For many, the first signs of the yuletide season are pumpkins, turkey and football. At Pittsburg’s Meadowbrook Mall, Santa Claus, the jolly old elf, rings in the countdown to Christmas.

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  • For many, the first signs of the yuletide season are pumpkins, turkey and football. At Pittsburg’s Meadowbrook Mall, Santa Claus, the jolly old elf, rings in the countdown to Christmas.
    Each year since 1969, Santa has set up shop in center of the mall, making his list and checking it twice to see which of the hundreds of boys and girls who visit him have been naughty or nice. At Meadowbrook, Santa appears for the first time each year on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day after Thanksgiving.
    Photographer Brian Shields has documented Santa’s monthlong stays at the mall for the past 11 years. He said Santa is as popular with children now as he was a decade ago. Shields sets up Santa’s sled, but said In The Garden provided the decorations for Santa’s Village.
    Each year, families from Pittsburg and surrounding communities bring their youngsters to the mall to visit the Jolly Old Elf. Amber and Kellen Hodgeden brought their daughters, 5-year-old Madalyn and 4-year-old Kylie, in to town from Erie to shop. This year, Amber said, the girls did something they’ve never done before.
    “This is the first year they actually sat in Santa’s lap,” she said. “They’ve always been too scared. It’s a milestone achievement for them.”
    The girls had their own motivation, though.
    “We’re going to Hawaii for Christmas and they were excited to tell him where to find us,” Amber laughed.
    Pittsburg resident Dana Yaghmour brought her children, 9-year-old Lauren and 4-year-old Danielle Marie, as well as the Mallouk twins, 7-year-olds J.P. and Gabby, whom she was watching for friends who are visiting from Kansas City. They decided to stop and visit Santa after they got out of a matinee showing of Rise Of The Guardians.
    “We’re just out here having fun,” Yaghmour said.
    Lauren agreed.
    “I love Christmas!” she said with a grin.
    Not to be outdone, Gabby chimed in.
    “I love Christmas, too!” she said.
     
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