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Christmas festivities underway in Historic Triangle

With Christmas just weeks away, holiday happenings that featured Santa visits and dogs in festive regalia ushered in the season Saturday.

It isn’t quite Christmas without a trip to meet Santa, and about 20 children came to take a photo with the man in red that morning at the Barnes and Noble on Duke of Gloucester Street, photographer Mark Schilling said.

With rainy weather much of the day, the crowd wasn’t quite as large as it has been in years past, Schilling said.

Still, Schilling and Lance Smith, in the guise of Santa Claus, were on hand to greet children at the bookstore just as they have for at least the past 10 years.

“It’s just fun stuff,” Schilling said.

Initially, tourists seemed to be the bulk of those seeking a photo opportunity. Over the years, more and more locals have turned out for the event, Schilling said.

With close to two decades of Santa experience under his belt, Smith said the delight on childrens’ faces is the best part of the being Saint Nick. Smith recalled how a little girl spotted him across the store and dashed over to hug him earlier in the morning.

“It’s the best job in the world,” Smith said.

Saturday was the first day of the duo’s stint at the bookstore. Santa is available for visits and photos 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays until Dec. 23.

Over in York County, Jingle Bark in the Park brought dogs and owners to York River State Park in the spirit of the season. While rain canceled the five-year-old event’s traditional dog walk, the party continued inside the visitor’s center.

Ready to greet visitors were dogs Doc and Stonewall, both clad in holiday sweaters and bells. Santa was also there for photos.

“Surprisingly, a lot of people want to get their pets’ picture with Santa,” Friends of York River State Park treasurer Penny Rich said.

The event sought to bring dog owners together and collect donations of pet food and other supplies, Rich said.

“We’re trying to get people to talk to each other,“ Rich said.

A couple of dog owners stopped at the center to enjoy cookies, coffee and other refreshments before heading on their way that morning, Rich said.

Photos with Santa

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 3 p.m. Sundays until Dec. 23.

Where: 345 W. Duke of Gloucester St.

Jacobs can be reached by phone at 757-298-6007.

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