PDT Staff Writer
Will Santa Claus come to town … before Christmas? Right now it’s anyone’s guess.
Last year, the Portsmouth Daily Times brought Santa Claus to town at the Paul E. Johnson Memorial Emporium, to a rousing reception. Children and their parents, who themselves had whispered in Santa’s ear, came out to enjoy a visit and music by area choirs. This year it’s all up in the air. That’s because Santa is looking for a place to meet with the local boys and girls.
“We’re in a critical situation with Santa Claus, and we’re afraid Santa Claus will not come to town, except on Christmas day,” Portsmouth Daily Times General Manager Michael Messerly said. “All indications are that the Paul E. Johnson Memorial Emporium will not be available this year for the event, which is disappointing because it was such a great place to have the event last year. But it’s not an option this year.”
Messerly said the Times is desperately looking for a place to have it this year.
“If we can’t find a place, we simply can’t have the event,” Messerly said. “We want to have the event. Santa wants to come to town to do the event. We want to do everything that we did last year and do it bigger, but we can’t do it unless we have a place to do it in.”
Messerly said it is his hope the community will come together and donate the solution to the problem, a facility where children can come in and see Santa over several weekends. Unlike last year, Messerly said this year’s appearances would most likely be just on Fridays and Saturdays, but over possibly three weekends instead of two weekends.
“This isn’t something the Daily Times looks to make money off of,” Messerly said. “It’s just something we’d like to do for the community, because every kid should get his or her opportunity, and every family should get its opportunity to have pictures with Santa. And it’s best done when it’s local.”
Messerly said the Times is looking for a place where a Santa set can be set up and where there is room for people to stand in line.
“Ideally, like last year, we would like to have room for church and school choirs to perform,” Messerly said. “That added so wonderfully to the atmosphere of the event. We would love to have space for local vendors to sell different items they have for sale at Christmas time. However, we understand, beggars can’t be choosers.”
Messerly said right now it is difficult to ask choirs to commit, since plans are still on hold.
“I would hate for anybody to put off an opportunity to perform, waiting on us,” Messerly said. “We don’t want to leave anybody in limbo. If we know we have a venue in which we can do the event, we’ll be furiously trying to find people to come and perform. We have a lot of talented kids, outside of athletics, who deserve to show off their talents as well, and this is a great opportunity to do so”
Messerly said anyone who wishes to donate a venue for the Santa visits, may contact him at 740-353-3101 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hate to disappoint all the girls and boys in the area by not being able to bring Santa to town,” Messerly said. “We want to again show why the Portsmouth Daily Times is the official sponsor for bringing Santa Claus to southern Ohio.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com.