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Hartselle Enquirer

Kids Day turns loose rush of Christmas joy

These Kids Day participants exchange some Christmas talk as they sit and wait for the opportunity to open their gifts.| Clif Knight
These Kids Day participants exchange some Christmas talk as they sit and wait for the opportunity to open their gifts.| Clif Knight

Clif Knight

Hartselle Enquirer

 

A rush of Christmas joy prevailed at Sparkman Civic Center  Friday morning as more than 230 children filed into the gymnasium to receive gifts from Santa Claus and help American Legion Post 52 mark the 68th anniversary of Hartselle Kids Day.

K-5 students from Danville-Neel, Eva and Falkville Elementary Schools and Sparkman School participated in the fun-filled event.

After the name of each child was called, he or she took a seat on Santa’s knee and was given the opportunity to tell him what they had penciled in at the top of their Christmas wish list. He then presented each child with a candy cane and directed them to his helpers for an age-appropriate, individually-wrapped  gift.

With gifts in hand, the students waited impatiently while others in their group received their gifts. Some turned their packages upside down and shook them in an effort to find out what was inside and a few dared to gently tear the wrapping paper and peep inside.

When they returned to their school bus, they received a bag of fruit and candy and were allowed to open their gifts. After a period of show and tell, the gifts were collected and kept out of sight until the end of the school day, at which time they were redistributed

Helping Santa with his presentation of gifts were more than a dozen volunteers who represented the Legion Post and its auxiliary. They included Nancy Train, Beverly Train Laurie Cooper, Jane Train, Jean Lester, Amber Train, Don Collum, Bill Lester, Bob Train, James Cooper, Jay Lawrence and James B. Lawrence.

Legionnaire James B. Lawrence of Hartselle can remember helping with the first Kids Day in December 1947.

“Economic times were tougher then than what they are today,” he said. “The children who came were poorly dressed and some of them had to wear shoes with holes in the soles. Horace Roberts was a merchant who would take new shoes off the shelf and give them to a kid that needed them. “Some of the ladies in town would collect new and good, used clothing and distribute it to those who were in desperate need.

“We took care of more than 300 kids from throughout the county school district. They visited with Santa, saw a movie at the Strand Theater and were fed a hot dog lunch.”

“The kids are so excited about coming to Kids Day,” said Karonda Ward, third grade teacher at Sparkman School. Many of them are in family situations that will prevent this from being one of their best Christmases.
“They are happy to visit with Santa, receive a gift and share a memorable experience with their classmates and friends,” she added.

“We are so pleased to be a part of Kids Day,” said Lynne Alexander, guidance counselor at Eva School. “The children sang Christmas carols on the way here and they will have fun showing off their gifts on the trip back to school.”

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