WOONSOCKET – Santa Claus was seated in his cabin at the mini-park near City Hall Thursday evening, chatting with all the children who stopped by with their friends and relatives.
Emily DiTomasso, 9, and her cousin, Allison Vuona, 5, both of Woonsocket, shared a moment with Santa as Allison's mom, Becky, looked on.
Emily later said she asked the Jolly Ol’ Fella for a Tangled doll, which has hair like that of Rapunsel, and slippers. Allison, meanwhile, asked for a Snow White doll and also for some footwear for the home, Stompies, while telling Santa the rest of her wish list.
Santa, assisted in getting to his cabin by former City Councilman Bill Schneck, said he was pretty busy with visitors during his stay and planned to return for several hours over the weekend.
"I just like to see the smiles on the kids’ faces," Santa said.
One little girl who popped in brought him two coloring pages she had created for him.
This year, the sight of happy children is especially memorable to Santa. His helper, Schneck, was also thinking of how important it was to do something extra to keep those smiles bright.
"When I come here, it brings me back to when my kids were that age and we used to visit Santa in his cabin when it was down at River Island Park," Schneck said.
As for Santa, the cabin has a heater near his big chair and there are plenty of lights and decorations to comply with the rules of such visits from the North Pole.
Sandra Agosto, of Grove Street, brought Santa two special visitors: her niece, Angelica Ayala, 6, and nephew, Raul Ayala, 5, who had come to Woonsocket from Puerto Rico for the first time. She thought they’d enjoy seeing Santa on a chilly December evening.
"They said it was great and that they want lots of toys," Agosto said.