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The City Journals

Residents invited to celebrate with Santa Mayor

Dec 08, 2016 01:35PM ● By Tori LaRue

A family poses for a picture with Santa at the Historic Preservation Committee's 2015 Saturday with Santa event. Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson plays the part of Santa Claus. (Taylorsville City)

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson won’t be wearing a typical workday outfit on Dec. 3. Instead, he’ll be sporting a red suit and a snow-colored beard in honor of the city’s 12th annual Saturday with Santa Tradition. 

Originally, the Taylorsville Youth Council hosted a family meet-and-greet with a Santa at the Taylorsville Bennion Heritage Center as a fundraiser. They tired of the event, so the city’s Historic Preservation Committee decided to keep the event going and stopped charging for admission. That’s when Johnson volunteered to play Santa.

“It is fun to see the smiles and joy and listen to what (kids) have to say to Santa Claus,” Johnson said. “If I can make anyone smile, I am all for that.” 

The 2016 event on Dec. 3 runs from 2–4 p.m. within the Heritage Center Dairy Store, located at 1488 West 4800 South. Santa will give the children treats, and volunteers will offer hot chocolate to parents or others in attendance. After seeing Santa, all participants are invited to tour the museum and dairy store, which includes the opportunity to see animals wearing their winter coats in the museum’s corrals. 

Connie Taney, chair of the Historic Preservation Committee, said the committee, full of “retired grandmas and grandpas who simply catch the spirit of Christmas,” spend hours decorating the dairy store and museum, readying it for Saturday with Santa. They put in the effort because the event is one of their favorite activities, Taney said. 

“It just feels like a day where we can all still get the feeling that we are little once again,” she said. “We as volunteers all go away with a warm feeling in our hearts because we get to experience joy and laughter for two whole hours.” 

Usually 60 to 80 participants attend the event, bringing cameras and grins, Taney said. 

“We’ve noticed a better attendance now that we have Santa sit in his special chair in the dairy store, rather than on the front porch or even out in the gazebo as we have tried before,” she said. “Getting out of nasty weather seems to be the secret to a good attendance.” 

Although there have been minor changes to Saturday with Santa, the event is mostly the same as it has always been—a place for local children to visit Santa and tell him which presents they hope he’ll bring them on Dec. 25.  

While the Taylorsville Christmas tradition only happens once a year, the Historic Preservation Committee invites those who miss the event to tour the museum and dairy store at a later date. The buildings are open for free tours each Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. Calling ahead is not required.