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A small army of children from Cedar Key and Rosewood descended upon the Community Center Monday night, once they realized that Santa had slipped into town early on a firetruck. The only hint were the Christmas lights that decorated his ride.
Somehow, he managed to not only get into Cedar Key virtually undetected but he also set up his headquarters - complete with an elf named Teresa.
Families lined up around the edges of the Community Center — some carrying lists they had written so they would not forget one single item. The youngest was in diapers, but surely Santa understood what he wanted without saying a word. The sheer excitement on the faces of all the children was universally understood by anyone lucky to be there.
The oldest child (Fire Chief Robert Robinson) was the last to sit on Santa’s lap to make his requests — which he would not divulge. After they stopped to talk to the man in red the kids went to the Santa House to ask Elf Teresa for an early present ,and nobody went away empty handed. Money was donated by residents and businesses of Cedar Key and a variety of toys were pur- chased to fulfill almost everyone’s wishes.
Many parents also took their little ones by the table where computer experts made ID cards for the kids and took their finger prints. This service was arranged by Police Chief Virgil Sandlin.
The volunteer firefighters prepared hamburgers and hotdogs that were dished out by Sharon Ingram — who seemed the know the names of every child in the room. There was a choice of plain or barbecue chips but barbecue was the hands-down favorite of the evening.
Michelle Pearson, a local photographer, took photos of each child sitting on Santa’s lap. She will print and distribute them at the Chamber of Commerce office, free of charge. They will be available this week for pick up.
The night came to a close after Chief Virgil announced the winners of two brand new bicycles. It's a darned shame that Santa disappeared just as Kenny McCain arrived for the party.