The Times-Journal will partner with Landmarks of DeKalb, Inc. for a very special visit from Santa Claus at the Fort Payne Opera House on Saturday, Dec. 11.
From noon to 3 p.m., families can visit Santa on the stage of the historic theatre, in a format similar to the successful recent Phantom of the Opera House event on Halloween. Photos will be taken for printing in a future edition of the newspaper. There is no charge to participate, however the event is also a fundraiser for Landmarks, which will be selling prints.
Landmarks Executive Director Jessica Harper-Brown said she is pleased to see more activity happening in the preserved theatre, which her organization saved from demolition 50 years ago and has faithfully restored.
“Landmarks is hoping to have more events in the Fort Payne Opera House so that the community can be entertained while appreciating this unique historic beauty,” said Harper-Brown.
Times-Journal Publisher Steven Stiefel said he’s happy to see the annual tradition of Pictures with Santa return after skipping 2020.
“This is a highlight of our year,” Stiefel said. “We look forward to seeing the delight and wonder in the eyes of these children as they share with Santa what they hope he’ll bring them for being good all year. The Opera House does offer a beautiful environment perfectly suited for this type of event.”
Initially, the newspaper wasn’t sure it would be able to have this event again, but the call was made to proceed following a decline in the numbers of new coronavirus cases in recent weeks.
“There is a real craving for a return to normalcy as people continue to get vaccinated and take reasonable precautions. Putting COVID behind us is on everyone’s wish list this year. This event is open to everyone, but we do request that anyone experiencing symptoms or not feeling well avoid participating as there will be other opportunities for the children to talk with Santa in the coming month,” he said.
The Times-Journal will distribute holiday coloring books to the first 250 children to participate.
In addition to the Halloween and Christmas events, yoga classes have started again on the stage of the Opera House, with the same instructor as the Yoga in the Park events on Saturdays at 9 a.m. The majestic Opera House is also featured in the Blue Cross Blue Shield 2022 calendar for the month of March and on the back cover.
“Their theme is historic theatres, and there are so many beautiful ones in our state,” Harper-Brown said. “We finally received one of the calendars last week and BCBS customers have been receiving them as well.”