Everly Hanson, 6, of Clinton sits on Santa Claus’ knee at Kringleville in Waterville on Saturday as Santa shows her how to form a heart with two tiny candy canes. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Everly Hanson, 6, of Clinton climbed into Santa’s lap, her eyes wide with wonder.

He asked what she wanted for Christmas. She said she wanted a teal gymnastics bar.

“I have a lot of medals,” she explained later.

Hanson and her parents, Allyson and Jake Hanson, were just three of more than 400 people who visited Santa Claus on Saturday at Kringleville, a mini North Pole at Castonguay Square downtown.

Outside Santa’s cabin it was chilly, but inside it was warm, with a fireplace aglow, Christmas trees all lit up and elves taking photos.

Everly Hanson, wearing a pink hat with a silver “E” on the front, smiled as Santa produced two tiny candy canes and held them together in the shape of a heart.


“What I want you to do is to take my heart and share your heart with others,” he said. “You know how you do that?” Just say, ‘Merry Christmas.'”

After the Hansons said goodbye to Santa and his elves, Allyson Hanson said their older children visited Santa when they were young, so she and her husband had been there before.

“This was a much more personal experience and she (Everly) wasn’t nervous,” she said.

The Children’s Discovery Museum oversees Kringleville, where children and parents enjoyed free hot chocolate Saturday as they waited in line to see Santa in his house, just across from City Hall. The line of waiting adults and children stretched nearly to Main Street, all along the south wall of the Paul J. Schupf Art Center.

The line of families to see Santa Claus at Kringleville on Saturday at Castonguay Square in Waterville extends nearly to Main Street. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

Volunteers from Optum Rx were collecting items for the Maine Children’s Home. Jake the Elf, who also helps Santa, said youth boots and socks are in great demand this year, and people are bringing them to donate. They may also donate them Sunday, as Kringleville will be open from 1-4 p.m. The last day of Kringleville is Friday and it will be open 6-8 p.m.

People come to visit Santa from as far away as Lewiston, Jake the Elf said.


“On Saturdays, we’ve had 350 to 450 people come and on Sundays, about 250,” he said. “But on Sundays, it’s been either raining or snowing.”

The Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce gets free books donated each holiday season from Sappi and Marden’s Surplus & Salvage and they were being given away Saturday. Lisa Covey, who also gives away free books at all sorts of events, was there doing the same.

“We’ve already handed out over 400 books this year,” Jake the Elf said.

The Central Maine Jeep Club also was on hand Saturday and donated gifts to the Maine Children’s Home. At a recent Kringleville event, Waterville Senior High School students helped children waiting in line do arts and crafts.

Jake the Elf said his goal is to increase the number of community partners setting up outside Kringleville each year to help children. The rules for signing up include that no politics or selling are involved, he said.

Meanwhile, inside his cabin, Santa spoke with one little boy who vowed he has been on the “good list” this year. Santa said there are not a lot of people on the bad list.


“Only politicians from Washington end up on that list — no kids,” he said. “There’s no such thing as a bad child. All children are good.”

Santa said “slime and Legos” are the most asked-for gifts this year.

How has his experience been this year at Kringleville? Simply wonderful, Santa said.

“I have heard so many incredible stories from the kids and they’re just so loving,” he said. “And it’s what Christmas is all about, and I’m getting more out of this than I think they are. Children are a gift and it started with the greatest gift of all — the reason we have Christmas.”

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