SIDNEY — Sunday was a busy day of crafts, clowns, cookies and carnival games at Montcalm Community College (MCC).
But Santa was the star.
The college hosted its 30th Santa’s Super Sunday, an annual event dating back to 1981.
“We’ve changed things around a little bit this year and spread it out a little more so it isn’t so crowded,” said Susan Hatto, dean of community outreach and organizer of the event. “We also had time slots for visits to Santa where the kids can sign up, then go enjoy the crafts and games until their scheduled time and then go have their picture taken with him.”
MCC employees and members of the college’s student clubs helped man the booths, where children could make bookmarks, write a letter to Santa, color a picture, make ornaments, decorate cookies, play carnival games and participate in musical activities.
“We have had different local businesses sponsor an activity to help cover some of the costs and keep it as a free event for familes,” said Hatto.
Kylee Jensen of Lakeview brought 6-year-old Brenden Cuarana of Lakeview.
“This (MCC) is my school and I love it here,” she said. “Today was a chance to bring him here and show him around. He wanted to see Santa and tried to do as much as we could do in the afternoon. The face painting was great with them really adding a lot of details and being very patient with the kids.”
The event also was the introduction for the new 2-1-1 program available in Montcalm and Ionia counties, teaming United Way with Hands-on Battle Creek with a program to help link people in need with services available.
Meggin Mollo of Greenville brought two daughters and a friend mainly to have their picture taken with Santa, but also to enjoy the other activities of the day.
Jade Mollo and McKenzie Bradley, both 8, liked the sucker game best while Chloe, 3, chose the duck game as her favorite.
“This is our first time here and the kids have had a lot of fun trying the different things. The lines weren’t long and we will definitely come back next year,” Meggin Mollo said.
Friends Jessica Brauher of Sumner and Christina Wilson of Crystal have made Santa’s Super Sunday a tradition for the past three years. This year they brought Onalee Church, 4, of Sumner and Wilson’s daughter, Goldie, 2.
“The kids were excited about getting to see Santa and there is so much great stuff for them to do. It’s a great inside event when the weather is crummy,” Brauher said.
“They have enjoyed it all. Goldie liked the face painting and the arts and crafts. It was a fun day for the kids,” Wilson added.
Dean and Angela Simon drove from Pewamo with their children, planning on enjoying the Christmas activities and purchasing a fresh tree from a local farm on their way home.
“It is our first time attending and even though the weather isn’t cooperating with us for getting our tree, they have had a very good day here,” Angela Simon said. “Hudson wanted to decorate cookies for everyone and also enjoyed making the bookmarks.”
Nine-year old Eithen Phillips of Ionia first wrote a letter and then later had his picture taken with Santa Claus.
“I really hope he brings me a Batman,” Eithen said. “That’s what I asked for.”
His mother, Jennifer Phillips, didn’t make any promises, but agreed that seeing Santa was the one reason they attended.
“We came for Santa, but did most of the activities, too. We like coming each year because it is a fun way to spend time with the kids,” she said.
MCC President Bob Ferrentino said students passed out more than 740 reusable cloth bags, one for each child under age 12, within the three hours of the event.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.