Santa Claus lands at local malls on Friday; kick off holiday season


Friday might be Veterans Day, but at three of Palm Beach County’s largest shopping malls it is also the official start of the holiday shopping season.

Santa Claus will touch down at the Mall at Wellington Green, The Gardens Mall and the Town Center at Boca Raton on Friday, posing for pictures and getting a head start on children’s holiday requests.

Santa will land at the Boynton Beach Mall on Nov. 19.

Although Christmas is more than two months away, Santa historically arrives at area malls in early to mid November.

At The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, mall officials started preparing for Santa’s arrival on Halloween. Construction on the mall’s Enchanted Garden, where Santa will sit for photos through Christmas Eve, was completed this week, mall spokeswoman Michele Jacobs said.

“We have a wonderful Santa,” Jacobs said. “We are looking forward to it. Its hard to believe it is already here.”

The mall’s annual “Santa’s Arrival Dance Party” begins at 6 p.m. Friday in the Grand Court (Lower Level, Outside Macy’s). Pictures with Santa will begin at 7 p.m. For admission to the event, please bring one unwrapped toy per family, which will be donated to the Salvation Army.

More than 15,000 children are expected to visit with Santa this year, Jacobs said.

The Gardens Mall will once again be offering Disney-style fast pass for parents who want to skip the line to get photos with Santa, Jacobs said. The fast pass allows shoppers who purchase a Santa photo package online to select a day to have their photos taken.

Officials at the Mall at Wellington Green started setting up the mall’s Ice Palace and Santa’s photo area on Oct. 25, spokeswoman Rachelle Crain said. The ice palace features a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow made out of non-toxic, vegetable-based ingredients. There is also a light show, a 360-degree arctic immersion, educational exhibits on arctic animals and a chilly ice throne.

The mall’s annual “Santa’s Arrival and Pajama Party” begins at 6 p.m. on Friday. Children can celebrate Santa’s arrival with a cookie reception and visit the mall’s ice palace.

The Wellington mall also expected Santa to greet more than 15,000 children at its display this year, Crain said.

Santa’s Arrival Party at the Boynton Beach mall begins at 2 p.m. on Nov. 19. Santa will stroll through the mall with treats and refreshments provided by Restore Coffee Roasters, officials said.



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