An unusually svelte Santa Claus drew a crowd Saturday night in downtown Amsterdam.
His appearance around 6:30 p.m. was the highlight of the third annual Downtown Winter Mixer, which had events during the day and culminated in the evening with crafts and food on a few blocks of Main Street. Dozens of families flocked from Main Street when Santa appeared on a side street, where he was quickly surrounded my children hoping it wasn’t too late to update their Christmas lists.
After getting Santa’s attention, Amsterdam resident Melody Valberg, 9, rattled off a handful of requests from memory, before cutting her list short.
“I also have more, but it’s way too much,” she added.
Other children swarmed around Santa’s legs as he posed for pictures and asked children whether they had been naughty or nice in 2012. He also asked some specific logistical questions, like if a family’s house has one or two chimneys.
Santa also left strict dietary requests, saying he preferred chocolate chip cookies if any children were inclined to leave him a snack.
Slowly and patiently he made his way through the crowd as it dwindled to just a handful of children and their parents.
Earlier in the evening people were getting into the holiday spirit with the help of a crafts table run by Michael’s Arts & Crafts, which is located in Amsterdam Commons. At the table, Carolnita Rondon, 4, and Makayla Brown, 9, assembled snowmen made up popsicle sticks that were designed to hang from their Christmas tree.
After that, Makayla, wearing a Santa hat with her name on, had her sights on a candy cane ornament at an adjacent table.
The street was alive with in the evening as families and groups wandered up and down Main Street, between Market Street and Church Street. Businesses got some late night foot traffic as a result, with the Book Hound filled with people chatting and browsing and people popping in and out of Riverside Pizza.
The event is sponsored by the city, its neighborhood associations and downtown merchants.