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Holiday crowd gathers for annual ‘Santa Comes to Hampshire’ event

Posing with calf rabbit while snow falls Sunday’s “SantComes Hampshire” event are Hampshire Junior Farmers back row from left: TiJacksChristinDrendel.

Posing with a calf and a rabbit while the snow falls at Sunday’s “Santa Comes to Hampshire” event are Hampshire Junior Farmers, back row from left: Tia Jackson and Christina Drendel. Front row from left: Anita Jackson, Maggie Alters, Henry Plamondom and Erin Hughes. | Denise Moran for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 11, 2014 6:10AM

HAMPSHIRE — The annual “Santa Comes to Hampshire” event Sunday at Hampshire Middle School featured entertainment, vendors, crafts, games, a petting zoo and the jolly old elf himself.

“Santa Comes to Hampshire” is presented by the Hampshire Area Chamber of Commerce.

“The chamber would like to thank all of the businesses, volunteers, events committee and the community for making this a huge success,” said Bonnie Hanson, chamber executive director. “The entertainment was wonderful, and the craft booths were sold out. We had a packed house for lunch with Santa.”

Northern Illinois Dance Center of Hampshire presented a variety of dance numbers with 20 students ranging in age from 3 to 18. Kari Sulaver has owned the business for the past year and a half.

Hampshire resident Sharon Brady came to watch her granddaughter, Kiley Brady of Marengo, 4, dance with three other girls to a Hawaiian song.

“They all did a very good job,” Brady said. “It was really cute.”

The Cambridge Lakes Learning Center Voices Ensemble performed holiday songs and invited the audience to sing along to “Silent Night.” Alexis Nguyen played the guitar and sang holiday music.

The snow was coming down outside as Hampshire Junior Farmers and their team leaders showed chickens, a calf, rabbits, lambs, and ducks. Hampshire Junior Farmer members include Anita Jackson, president; Abby Dedina, vice president; Erin Hughes, secretary; Christina Drendel, treasurer; and fellow members Maggie Alters, Henry and KZ Plamondom, Tia Jackson, Madigan Boburci and Martin Burnidge.

Show vendors

Sheep Wreck Farm of Elgin was a first-time vendor at the Hampshire show. Elgin resident Carol Lussky ran a booth with her mother, Delores Hoeckelberg.

“We have 50 sheep on the farm,” Lussky said. “We sell wool and also make wool felt pots.”

BonTer Solutions in Hampshire, which has been selling personalized children’s books for many years at the “Santa Comes to Hampshire” event, expanded last January to now offer customized personal gifts and promotional items. The business is run by Bonnie and Terry Larson of Hampshire.

Dr. Sarah Stone of Hampshire Animal Hospital and Hillery Higginbothan ran the Open Doors Animal Rescue booth. Open Door started in 2009 when a young couple noticed animals being turned away from local shelters because of overcrowding. Open Door has opened a Petco Adoption Center at 403 N. 8th St., West Dundee.

“We are always looking for foster parents for cats and eventually for dogs,” said Higginbothan. “This year, we rescued 130 cats. We now have approximately 50 cats.”

Cathy Kurilla of Hampshire had a booth where she was selling Jewel Kade handcrafted jewelry, custom photo charms, poetry canvases and inspirational charms. She said she started her business about a year ago.

Patricia White of Simple Sweets said her Elgin-based business offers dessert catering. The desserts are baked at the Shared Dream Kitchen near Elgin Community College.

Photos with Santa

The highlight of the day was, of course, Santa himself. Children lined up in order to have the opportunity to talk with him and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Ava Mowers, 7, of Hampshire told Santa that she wants Ever After High books. The Ever After High dolls by Mattel depict children of famous fairy tale characters.

When asked what she thought about Santa, Mowers said: “Santa is cool.”

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