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Santa packs the house

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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Santa Claus reads a story to some of his biggest fans at "Sweets with Santa," held at the RCS Community Library on Saturday.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media The RCS Community Library was filled to the brim with families Saturday for the annual "Sweets with Santa" event.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media Piper Rogan, 2, chooses one of her favorites at the sweets table.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media So many sweets to choose from! Matio Hatzistergos, 6, makes his choice.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media One of Santa's helpers gets a chuckle out of the story the Jolly Ol' Elf shared with the kids at the library this weekend.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media A youngster makes his selection from a table filled with goodies after Santa Claus read his story.
December 3, 2018 09:56 pm

RAVENA — When Santa Claus and all his reindeer arrived at the RCS Community Library on Saturday, he was met by a packed house.

Over 100 fans of all ages were on hand to greet the Jolly Ol’ Elf for “Sweets with Santa,” and the Big Guy didn’t disappoint.

Santa read a book to the children, listened to their hopes and dreams, and joined them in enjoying cookies and all kinds of treats at the sweets table.

“I am pretty sure this is a record turnout,” Library Director Judith Wines said. “It’s early in the season, so we are happy people want to come out to the library and get a running start on the holidays.”

There were roughly 72 kids on hand and 47 adults, with cars overflowing the library’s parking lot and lined up and down the street outside.

Piper Rogan, 2, came to the event for the first time and was excited to see Santa up close.

“This is our first year living in the village and we love it,” Piper’s mom, Carra Rogan, said. “We love the library — we come here every week.”

After Santa’s story, kids lined up to sit on his lap and put in their requests for gifts they would like to wake up to on Christmas morning. Then they were treated to a table filled with cookies, brownies and other sweets.

Matio Hatzistergos, 6, waited patiently on line before making his selection.

“I liked hearing Santa read the book,” Matio said. “It was a good book.”

Marie Sturges, the library’s president of the board of trustees, said the annual “Sweets with Santa” event is focused on the community and helping everyone celebrate the holidays.

“In previous years we held a bake sale to raise funds for the library, but this year the board of trustees decided we wanted to give back to the community — for the children to come in, listen to stories and have a treat,” Sturges said. “We have well over a hundred kids and adults here today.”

Josie Bruno, the board’s treasurer, said it was gratifying to see such a big turnout.

“It’s wonderful. I was instrumental in the library purchasing this building [several years ago], so it’s great to see it become a focal point of the community,” Bruno said. “It lights up Main Street.”

While board members prepared the treats, trustee Laurie Dickerson said it is the library’s staff that makes its programs and events so memorable.

“It’s so rewarding and I am so thrilled that the community has embraced the programming that the staff has worked so hard to develop,” Dickerson said. “They really want to engage the community, and they have. They are the ones that come up with the creative programming.”

The community’s children, in fact, are one of the library’s biggest customers, board member Joseph Boehlke said.

“The children are some of the biggest users of the library because we have the children’s reading program, art and STEAM programs — we have programs for toddlers all the way to teenagers.”