Glynn County’s Recreation and Parks Department is getting in the holiday spirit with a few old traditions and one new celebration, starting Thursday with a pet photo op with Santa.
A popular event for a few years now, Santa Paws will take place from 4-6 p.m. in the atrium of the Glynn County Casino, 520 Beachview Drive on St. Simons Island.
“It’s free, you just bring your dog or your cat,” said Tiffany Brain, recreation program manager. “But I don’t know if a cat’s going to want to sit on Santa’s lap.”
For no charge, anyone can get a photo of their pet with Santa Claus, the recreation department’s own Shawn Lentini, beach manager. They just have to provide an email to which photos can be sent.
Aside from just a photo op for pet owners, Brain said Glynn County Animal Control has used it as an opportunity to get exposure for shelter pets.
Following that, the Casino will host the recreation department’s Santa Cinema on Friday. For $3, children and their parents can watch one of three showings of Mickey’s Christmas Carol in the Casino theater, meet Santa Claus — a professional Claus, not Lentini — enjoy an arts and crafts room and get a cup of hot chocolate. All activities open at 6 p.m. and close at 8 p.m. Movie showings are at 6:15 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.
Only 50 people will be allowed in the theater at a time due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Brain said, which is why the department has instituted pre-sales of tickets at glynncounty.org/recreation. Tickets can still be purchased at the door, but some may be turned away if the theater reaches capacity.
Next week on Dec. 12, the recreation department will host the first Jolly Jamboree in Howard Coffin Park.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., children can enjoy a carnival-like event with games, a mini train ride, an inflatable playground, stone and ornament decorating, apple cider, cookies, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and possibly win door prizes — a new child’s bicycle and live Christmas tree.
Children under 3 years old can enter for free, all others pay $3 each.
“All of them are fun and we have them in different locales,” Brain said. “If you don’t want to go to the island, we have something on the mainland, if you don’t want to go to the mainland, we’ve got something on the island. If you don’t like movies, we’ve got carnival games. You can pick which one you like, or you can go to both.”
Concurrently with all this, the department has also been operating a North Pole-express mailbox at all recreation department offices. The mailboxes close for the year on Dec. 15.
“As soon as we get the letter, ‘Santa’ sends everyone back, so we have to have time to get them all back by Christmas,” Brain said.