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Santa, singing and holiday cheer sweep Centennial Center Park

Annual Centennial Holiday Celebration draws hundreds

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Large crowds came to usher in the holidays at the Centennial Holiday Celebration, which featured a photobooth where kids took pictures with Santa and a holiday concert by local school choirs.

“I dragged the whole family here,” said a laughing Heather Schafer, who brought her parents, siblings, niece and nephews along with her children.

Her daughter, Kate Schafer, is in the Sandburg Elementary School choir. Creekside, Peabody, Homestead and Peakview elementaries, and Newton Middle School, also participated in the choir concert at Centennial Center Park’s amphitheater. Kate also enjoyed running around the park with friends, Heather Schafer said.

The event Nov. 18 brought adorning lights, free cookies and hot chocolate, and a longtime Santa to the park — 68-year-old James Lewis has dressed up as Santa for the holidays for about 10 years.

“I feel like I was called to it,” said Lewis, who said he’s a part of a nationwide organization of people who dress up as Santa for the holidays. “A lot of us feel that way as well.

“The good Lord wanted me here,” said Lewis, who sported a big smile as dozens of children and families talked and took photos with him.

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