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Community members help give bicycles to 80 children

Eighty children got a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, who dropped off a present for each and every one of the young Newton County residents at Chimney Park Thursday evening.

Those children were invited to Chimney Park by someone within the community, who recognized that they were in need of a little “Christmas Magic” as one of the Newton County “elves” put it. A group of residents who wanted to add a little more joy to someone’s Christmas season, passed out an invitation for a child to “invited to join Santa and Mrs. Claus for a viewing of the magical lights at Chimney Park.”

When the child arrived, they presented their invitation to one of the dozen or so helper “elves” near the park’s fire pit. The “elf” (participants in the event, requested to remain anonymous) then told the child and their parent or guardian to go around the park’s foundation, near the library, where Santa Claus and his wife were waiting.

After a few moments and a photo opportunity with the magical couple, the children then were directed up to the Chimney Park’s historic foundation, where another “elf” allowed them to enter and select one of almost 100 bicycles at no charge.

The children who received invitation and a bicycle were selected from all sides of Newton County, by those who include a park board member, business owners, a steel worker, Snapping Shoals employee and others.

One child, who had recently lost a parent, told an “elf” that she thought Santa Claus was really her parents. However, after arriving at Chimney Park Thursday evening, she told said she is now convinced there is a Santa Claus.

Volunteer elves also provided hot dogs and treats for those arriving to meet Santa Claus, who volunteered his time away from the North Pole without charge.

Other community members volunteered their time and efforts as well. Members of the Mystic Grill kitchen staff, who had children at the event, expressed a thank you to one of the “elves,” who can be found at one of his two local restaurants, when not helping Santa Claus deliver bicycles.