ALBANY, Ga. -- Santa and Mrs. Claus took a break from Christmas preparations at the North Pole to make an appearance at "Cookies, Crafts and Santa" at the Albany Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon.
This was the inaugural year for this fundraising event, which allowed kids to get creative, eat goodies and meet with the jolly old man in the red suit. The idea came about in looking for a new way to get children to the museum.
"Each year we try to have one fundraiser geared toward children," said Banks Margeson, resident-Board of Trustees for the Albany Museum of Art. "The past few years we have hosted the Fairy Tale Tea which has been a great success. This year, the committee thought that a holiday event would be a great change and might appeal to a larger audience. We believe that these fundraisers are a great way to introduce children to the museum and begin to foster a love of art and expression."
"We're always looking for new ways to do things. We thought this would be a good time of year, but this is more than we could have hoped for," said Brandy Dew, a museum volunteer who helped to decorate for the event.
With the help of sponsors, the museum was transformed into a winter wonderland.
One room was turned into a winter wonderland complete with gumdrop trees, giant pepermints and shimmery snowflakes hanging from the ceiling. On a stage in front, Santa met with children in front of a roaring fireplace backdrop.
Some cried, but most smiled as they climbed up into the laps of Santa and Mrs. Claus. They were the biggest attratction at the event, with the line for a visit with the jolly twosome streched halfway across the room.
Anabel Griffin and Maliri High made good use of their time with Santa. "I liked sitting with Mrs. Claus and Santa," Anabel said. "I asked for a Baby Alive Giggle Doll."
The doll was also on her cousin Maliri's list, but that wasn't all. "I also want a scooter and a new bike," she said.
Seeing Santa was little Ellie Morgan's favorite thing she said as she sat on the floor next to her sister Marjorie.
Their mother Mary Helen Morgan was glad to be able to attend the event with her daughters. "I think it's a great event for the kids and for the museum."
Three-year-old Will Brantley's face was covered in icing from the cookies he was eating, but that didn't stop a huge grin from appearing when he was asked what he wanted from Santa Claus this year. "A truck," he said.
His mother Kay Brantley said that this was a great event to attend with her son. "It's something nice to do to support the community and to support the museum."
No Christmas celebration would be complete without food. Tables lining the walls were filled with sugar cookies, icing, sprinkles and anything else you could think of to decorate cookies. Olivia Yawn decorated her cookie with white icing and gumdrops.
Another table held hot cocoa, apple cider and more candy and treats.
The event was divided into different rooms, each facilitaing a different activity. An excited Daniel Ausby, 3, created spin art, while Sawyer DuPree got a temporary snowflake tattoo on her hand.
In the Amazing Space room, an interactive museum space just for kids, Hadley Woodall, Maura McGrath and Harper Woodall played and posed for pictures in their pretty Christmas dresses.
In another room, siblings Chapel and McCall Coley and friend Bella Brim decorated picture frames with snowman and snowflake stickers and markers. The Coley family are big fans of the museum
"Anything the Museum does is great," said mom, Kathy Coley.
And with fundraising events like "Cookies, Crafts and Santa," the museum will be able to keep making an impact Albany and Southwest Georgia by bringing the joy of art and creativity to the area.
"These fundraisers ensure that we will be able to continue our mission of bringing high quality shows to our museum that are available to all, continue educational outreach and programming and provide an outlet for those who love art," said Margeson.
The Albany Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10a.m.-5p.m. For more information on the museum call (229) 439-8400.