Santa brings feeling of awe to Capital Mall

Alexa Pfeiffer/News Tribune photo: 
Santa holds Abigail Boyd at the annual Breakfast with Santa at Capital Mall Saturday morning, Dec. 2, 2023. The event is a collaboration between Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
Alexa Pfeiffer/News Tribune photo: Santa holds Abigail Boyd at the annual Breakfast with Santa at Capital Mall Saturday morning, Dec. 2, 2023. The event is a collaboration between Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry.


An awed tiny voice cut through mall center court noise late Saturday morning: "Santa!"

Other voices quieted, then began to buzz with excitement as Santa walked through the center court at Capital Mall in Jefferson City.

A line of about 100 children and their parents quickly formed. Six-year-olds Hattie Struemph and Sloan Scheppers were near the front of the group, eyes popped open while looking toward the jolly old elf.

The children had arrived for the annual Breakfast with Santa celebration -- a collaboration between Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry. The organizations provide milk and donut holes for people who attend the event.

Later, as she munched on donut holes, Hattie shared what she asked Santa to bring her for Christmas -- a Charades game and an American Girl doll.

Sloan said she thought visiting Santa was good. "Because it's fun," she said.

She also hoped for an American Girl doll. Sloan said she also wants a Barbie and an American Girl house.

Donna Vail, Capital Mall's general manager, said the mall has offered the event since about 2014.

"It gives kids an opportunity for a one-on-one with Santa," Vail said. "Parents know they can come in and snap a picture with him. It's also something fun for the kids to do."

This year, with the Jefferson City Jaycees Christmas Parade on the same day, Vail said she was uncertain whether folks would have time to go out to the mall beforehand.

Santa is here Thursday through Sunday, she said, while the Grinch is here Friday, Saturday and Sundays.

"It's funny, because some of the kids will run up and hug the Grinch," she said, "but they're scared of Santa. It's funny to watch."

The mall also hosts a Grinch Day, she continued, which will be Dec. 17. Santa will be on break that day, but the Grinch will visit with children from noon-6 p.m. (with a break from 3-4 p.m.)

Children love Santa at the mall, Vail said.

"He's great. He reads stories to the kids," she said. "He really enjoys it."

On Saturday, Santa got a visit from a woman who grew up in Lesterville. Judy Pike, who now lives in Carbondale, Illinois, said Santa bears a strong resemblance to someone she went to school with decades ago.

"I drove a long way to see ... Santa," Pike said.

Veronica Bone came from Salem to visit Santa. (She had known someone in southern Missouri who Santa resembles.)

Pike said she learned late in her high-school career that she was the oldest person in her class.

"So I'm actually older than Santa," she said.

  photo  Alexa Pfeiffer/News Tribune photo: Chloe Semones, right, and Peryn Rutter perform with Itsy Bitsy Broadway to entertain families waiting in line at the annual Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.
 
 
  photo  Alexa Pfeiffer/News Tribune photo: Elves from Itsy Bitsy Broadway perform at Capital Mall to entertain families waiting in line for the annual Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning.
 
 
  photo  Joe Gamm/News Tribune  photo: Members of Itsy Bitsy Broadway became elves for Breakfast with Santa Saturday morning at Capital Mall. In this photo, Chloe Semones, left, and Charles Schillers react to something going on beside them.
 
 
  photo   Joe Gamm/News Tribune photo: Santa holds 16-month-old Zoe Horn while the girl eats a donut hole Saturday morning during Breakfast with Santa at Capital Mall. Zoes older siblings have visited Santa, so it was her turn this year.
 
 
  photo  Joe Gamm/News Tribune photo: Six-year-old Hattie Struemph, center, meets Santa face-to-face during Breakfast with Santa. Sloan Scheppers, right, also took a moment to take in the giant elf. Breakfast with Santa is a collaboration between Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry.
 
 
  photo  Joe Gamm/News Tribune photo: Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks staff distribute donut holes and milk Saturday morning during Breakfast with Santa at Capital Mall.
 
 
  photo  Alexa Pfeiffer/News Tribune photo: Families wait in line to see Santa at Capital Mall on Saturday. Breakfast with Santa is a collaboration between Capital Mall and Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry. These organizations provided donuts and juice for families to enjoy.