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Contactless Santa is coming to town

Contactless Santa is coming to town

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Colton Miller, then 2, from Hartford, plays with Santa during a visit to Aviation Mall in Queensbury before getting a picture taken in 2016. This year, there will be no lap-sitting and no hugs, but children will be able to talk to Santa from 6 feet away and get a photograph with their mask on.

Children will be able to see Santa this year, but no one will be sitting on his lap.

Children will have to stay 6 feet away, with masks on, at all times. That includes for photos.

The rules, which are being implemented throughout the country to prevent the spread of coronavirus, will be in force locally at Aviation Mall in Queensbury and Wilton Mall.

Parents should reserve a time in advance, although both sites will allow some walk-ins. The idea is to prevent a long line.

Despite it all, Santa is promising a “memorable” visit.

“There will be plenty of fun and magic, as well as a focus on the health and well-being of everyone,” Aviation Mall Director of Marketing Teresa Hanley said in a news release. “It’s important to keep as much of the beloved holiday tradition alive, now more than ever.”

For a while, it wasn’t certain whether Santa could visit at all this year.

“We could all use a dose of Santa’s merry disposition, but we also have to evolve with the times and do it safely. We’ve been strategizing with Cherry Hill (the organizer of Santa’s visits) to accomplish that goal,” Hanley said,

For those who would rather have a mask-free experience, Aviation Mall will be offering virtual visits with Santa.

Parents can also register to have their children talk to Santa on 93.3-FM, Saratoga’s Star Radio channel.

The live radio show will air on Dec. 8, Dec. 10, Dec. 15, Dec. 17 and Dec. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. Parents can register at StarSaratoga.com and will be contacted prior to the show if their child is chosen to speak with Santa.

“This year, when traditional in-person visits with Santa will not be possible, Star Radio is happy to share the magic of Santa through phone calls with children; and we’ll broadcast their conversations for friends and relatives near and far to enjoy,” said Fran Dingeman, general manager of Saratoga’s Star Radio.

The show will also be broadcast at StarSaratoga.com.

To reserve a time to meet Santa at Aviation Mall, go to https://www.shopaviationmall.com/event/santa-claus-is-coming-to-town/.

Santa will be at the mall, near J.C. Penney, beginning on Friday. He will be there from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Santa will not be at the mall on Nov. 30 or Dec. 7.

At Wilton Mall, reserve a time to meet Santa at https://www.wiltonmall.com/SantaPhotos.

Santa will be at the mall from Dec. 1 on, from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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