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St. Nick to arrive Friday

Santa Claus will be arriving on Friday at the Albany Mall at 7 p.m.

Santa Claus will be arriving on Friday at the Albany Mall at 7 p.m.

Staff Reports

ALBANY — Ready or not, the holidays are here.

And there’s no bigger sign that the annual arrival of Santa Claus. He’s expected to have his reindeer drop him off at the Albany Mall at 7 p.m. Friday, officials with the mall say.

The Santa welcoming party will start at 6 p.m., with holiday music, hot cocoa, candy canes and other treats as kids wait for the jolly ol’ elf to make his appearance.

When he arrives, St. Nick will light the Giant Christmas Tree at Center Court and start the trains on their seasonal runs. Mall officials say he may have another magical surprise up his furry red coat sleeve as well.

After the ceremony, Santa will go to his train depot at the JCPenney wing, where he’ll begin visiting with children and going over their wish lists for Christmas, as well as pose for photos with them. But if you miss him, don’t worry. Santa will be back every day through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Mondays-Saturdays, Santa will be at his depot 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays.

Some other holiday events at the mall include:

— The Winter and Holiday Fashion Show, 1 p.m., Saturday at Center Court. The Mall Fashion Board will show what the in looks for the season are at mall stores.

— Santa’s Holiday Express Train Ride, 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, Friday through Christmas Eve. The trackless train travels through the mall around Santa’s Train Depot in the JCPenney wing. Christmas Eve Train hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Rides are $2 per child and $1 for adults accompanied by a child. Special rate available for school and day care groups. Reservations for groups can be made at the train station or by calling (229) 883-7983.

— Santa’s PJ Party, 6:30 p.m., Dec. 7. Kids get to wear their favorite pajamas and enjoy hot cocoa, cookies, story time, crafts, and a sing-a-long with Santa in his secret hide-away across from Pets-n-Pals in the JCPenney wing. Tickets are $6 per child (recommended ages 2-10). Tickets go on sale at the Information Center beginning Saturday. Space is limited and no phone reservations.

— Santa Meet & Greet for School Groups, 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Dec. 4–7 and 11-14. Santa will take time for a special time with boys and girls who visit with their school classes or day care groups. Contact the Information Center at (2290 883-7983 to schedule a time for your group to visit. Group meetings are free and last 15-20 minutes. Appointments are available. Groups are also entitled to ride the Holiday Express Train Ride for $1 per child (teachers ride free).

— Paws & Claus, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 10-11 and 17-18. Pets get their photos with Santa, too.