HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 17, 2015 – Six-year-old Kalani Goodson met Santa Claus for the first time tonight at High Point University’s Fifth Annual Community Christmas Celebration.
She was one of thousands of children who visited the man in red and had her photo taken with him on campus. And the moment stuck with her.
“I had never seen Santa before,” said Goodson, who attends Oak View Elementary. “It was really cool. I told him I want a tablet for Christmas.”
Santa was one of the many attractions at HPU tonight, which continued its tradition of celebrating the Christmas season with the community in a special way. A life-size Nativity scene with a photo station, Clydesdale horses, hot food, community choirs, candy canes walking on stilts and falling snow were some of the other features that neighbors in High Point and friends from across the Triad experienced.
HPU welcomed approximately 9,000 people to campus on this first night of the event. The event continues Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and it is free and open to the public. Complimentary shuttles will run from Oak Hollow Mall to transport guests, and the shuttles will be the quickest way to enter campus.
For many in the Triad, the event has become a way for their family to embrace the Christmas spirit while they stroll through campus and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season.
“We got here to see Santa first, and the line moved fast,” said Christie Hall, a High Point resident who brought her two sons, Joshua and Brayden, to the event for the second year in a row. “Using the shuttle from Oak Hollow Mall was easy, and there is just so much here tonight. The people on stilts – you don’t get that anywhere else. This event is always energetic and exciting and there’s always so much going on.”
But as the event continues to grow, it attracts more new faces from across the Piedmont Triad each year.
“This is my first time at this event, and I am truly impressed,” said Melinda Pennix, a Greensboro native. “I brought our church van with 27 kids here tonight from Bethel AME Church in Greensboro, and this is just glorious. We do other things like take them to Tanglewood every year, but I am going to recommend we bring them here every year. I appreciate all of this so much.”
By the numbers – HPU’s campus is decked in:
- 86,000 lights
- 11,200 feet of garland
- 163 wreaths
- 548 banners
- 447 bows
- 34 nutcrackers and soldiers
- 23 Nativity scene figures
- 300 poinsettias
- 12 Christmas trees