Children bring wishes to Santa Claus Lane SOUTHWEST * Mount Airy * Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

December 11, 1992|By Kathy Sutphin | Kathy Sutphin,Contributing Writer

Bright-eyed children trekking through a frosty fantasy land o a corner of Mount Airy's municipal parking lot have discovered a timeless treasure of Christmas spirit, compliments of a local service organization.

Santa Claus Lane, a miniature North Pole village created in 1977 by the Mount Airy Lions Club, is scheduled to conclude its annual five-day incarnation from 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. today.

Hundreds of children bundled in layers of warm clothing visited the free outdoor event with their parents this week, even though inclement weather forced organizers to close the village yesterday.

Visitors to Santa Claus Lane stroll around Mount Airy's majestic lighted Christmas tree, which is surrounded by a variety of exhibits of special interest to youngsters -- a Sugar Plum tree, a North Pole Post Office, and a model train display at the North Pole Train Station. Free cups of hot chocolate are offered to visitors at the Swiss Chalet.

Some tots, such as 20-month-old Mikinsie Ballard of Mount Airy, toured the event for the first time. Mikinsie's favorite exhibit, her mother said, was the colossal Gingerbread House, which she visited at least six times Tuesday night. "She goes in one door and out the other," said Terrie Ballard.

Santa's Workshop was a favorite for Garrison Patrick Frey, 3, of Mount Airy, who said he liked the elves because they were "making toys."

"I liked Rudolph, too!" he added enthusiastically.

The exhibit featuring a "sleeping" Rudolph -- with a sign noting he was resting up for the big night -- attracted Kevin Sotzsky, 8, of Mount Airy.

"It's fun looking around," Kevin said.

Lyndsay and Bethany Smith of Mount Airy waited in line at the red North Pole telephone booth to make a call to Mrs. Claus. Lyndsay, 7, planned to tell Mrs. Claus that she wanted the games Girl Talk and Sorry for Christmas. Bethany, 4, said she wanted a baby doll.

A long line of children and adults, from the parking lot to a small white cottage, was evidence of the lane's most popular attraction -- Santa Claus.

The big smiles from Meghan, Jessica and Jenna Sprague as they left Santa's cottage showed that their visit was worth the wait.

Jessica, 4, said she asked Santa for "Beauty and the Beast" bedsheets. But she said her favorite exhibit at the Lane was "Baby Jesus" in the Nativity scene.

Meghan, 6, noting she asked Santa for the game Perfection, was excited about "seeing all the neat stuff" at Santa Claus Lane.

And 7-year-old Ben Kauffman wrote out his list and wrapped it for Santa so he wouldn't forget anything.

In addition to asking for sea creature stamps, Ben said his Christmas wish "was for Somalia to get food."

The children's pleasure as they tour Santa Claus Lane keeps the project a top priority for Lions Club members who refurbish and add to the attraction each year.

Murray Ryan, a charter member of the club, was one of several Lions on duty at Santa Claus Lane on Tuesday evening.

"It's great to hear them squealing," said Mr. Murray, a club member for 52 years.

He expected the long line of children at Santa's cottage to last until 9 p.m.

"They keep coming," he said.

Santa Claus Lane closes in inclement weather. To see whether it will be open tonight, call (301) 829-LION.

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