Santa is coming to town and Lansdowne is ready. Deborah McVicker and a group of volunteers from Lansdowne Elementary School's PTA were busy cleaning the Santa House on Hammonds Ferry Road last weekend, adding decorations and putting in a new printer for photos.
Hot cocoa mix was ready to prepare some warm comfort for young visitors, and candy canes were stocked and ready to hand out.
Asked how many people will attend, McVicker pointed to last year as an indicator.
"We had a humongous turnout," she said. "We thought it would be very modest. There were 750 people in the parking lot. It was insane."
Last year was the first year the Lansdowne Elementary School PTA took charge of the Christmas event. While it is not a Baltimore County Public Schools event, it is a community event and the PTA works with the Lansdowne Business and Professional Association to do it.
"The year prior to us, maybe 10 kids showed up," McVicker said. "Nobody knew where it was and there were charges for everything. I wanted to open it up to the community and make it a free event."
No one was sure what to expect last year, and the large turnout has everyone excited for this year.
"I have double the participation this year," McVicker said happily about the number of volunteers and the amount of donated items that range from candy canes to doughnuts to coloring books.
"It is really amazing to see people come together like this for the sake of kids," McVicker said. "We're super excited."
Events start at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, with the Lansdowne Elementary School choir singing holiday songs.
At 5:30 p.m., Santa arrives on a firetruck and then will welcome young visitors to the Santa House, which will be open until 8 p.m. Everyone visiting Santa will receive a photo and a special surprise.
"I'm excited we can continue to offer this to the community," McVicker said. "I think we're going to have a lot of fun."
Santa's House is at 912 Hammonds Ferry Road.
It will be open Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays, 4 to 8 p.m., Dec. 6 through Dec. 21.