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Santa arrives in Gainesville's downtown square for Jingle Mingle

POSTED: November 22, 2013 12:13 a.m.

Karen Wiggins and grandson Hayden Martin, 10, pet "Polly.". Polly and carriage driver Diane Teaver of Carriage Deluxe Inc. gave free rides to Jingle Mingle visitors.

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Gainesville ushered in another holiday season with horse-drawn carriage rides, music and lights on the square.

An appearance by Santa Claus especially set the festive tone Thursday for the city’s annual Jingle Mingle.

“He didn’t get a break all night long,” said Dorothy Moulder, with the city of Gainesville. “He probably saw (200), 300 kids tonight.”

Presented by Main Street Gainesville and the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, the three-hour event featured extended shopping hours, food, drinks and festive fun.

Santa said spirits were high.

“I only had about 20, 25 criers. That’s normal,” he said with a smile.

He said popular toy requests were Hot Wheels cars for boys and American Girl dolls from girls.

One young girl, Santa said, assured him that if he didn’t get her an iPad, “her grandma would.”

The horse-drawn carriage was perhaps the most popular activity of the evening besides sitting with Santa.

Dozens were still waiting in line when organizers had to close up shop.

Attendees, most with young children, were also treated to holiday music from Gainesville First United Methodist Church’s concert band, which performed in the Main Street Market at Sweet Magnolia’s, and Brian Ulrich, who performed at Frames You-Nique.

Shops went all out on lighting, including the now-illuminated Holiday Chicken atop Main Street Market.

Santa will be back for those who may have missed the opportunity to see him.

“Mingle with Kringle” will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, 14, 21 at the Main Street Market.


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