AUGUSTA — Visiting Santa Claus at his castle — the Olde Federal Building on Water Street — was the first stop for Torrie Webber, 6, during the city’s annual holiday celebration Saturday afternoon.

Torrie said it was fun seeing Santa and asking him for presents for Christmas. Her parents, Amanda and Dan Webber, of Augusta, said they liked the variety of the child-friendly activities and that it brought more people downtown.

“I asked for a stuffed Pluto, and I asked if it could be extra fluffy,” the 6-year-old said while writing a letter to Santa.

Besides the “extra fluffy” Disney character, Webber asked for Disney Infinity, a video game for the Nintendo Wii. After visiting Santa, Webber stopped by the letter-writing station in Market Square — just to make sure he got her requests.

The event was hosted by the city, the Augusta Downtown Alliance and Hallmark for ME, along with the downtown store, Stacy’s Hallmark.

Children visiting Santa were led by the big man’s helpers along the hallways of the Olde Federal Building before reaching Santa’s living area, sealed off by two rosy-cheeked guards. Families then were let in one by one to sign up for Santa’s nice list and visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in their study.

The day also featured a reindeer and spotted deer for people to pet, horse-drawn carriage rides around a downtown block and craft activities.

Torrie’s father, Dan Webber, 34, said it was the fourth year they’ve been to the Augusta holiday celebration, which culminated this year with a tree lighting and fireworks show.

The scavenger hunt, which sent families around to downtown storefronts in search of well-known cartoon and Christmas characters, allowed the adults to check out some shops they might not have been in before, he said.

“This thing also brings your family together, brings your neighbors together,” Webber said.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of money, either,” said his wife, Amanda Webber, 32.

Logan Reid, 6, of Waterville, also stopped by Santa’s castle to tell him what he wanted. Reid, who was with his aunt, Angela Parady, said he asked Santa for Lego toys.

“I asked him for presents,” he said.

Reid said he had never seen Santa before, besides in movies, but Parady said her nephew saw Santa a couple of years ago.

“This might be the first year he remembers seeing Santa Claus,” said Parady, 29, of Augusta.

After visiting Santa, the two took a carriage ride around the downtown and planned to see the reindeer.

“It just seemed like a great experience for the kids to get down here, see Santa, see reindeer, craft projects, fireworks,” Parady said.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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