By Lee Rennick
As temperatures plunge (some of the time), and the countdown to Christmas begins, Santa sightings become intense. The jolly old elf with the infectious laughter and the tummy like a bowl full of jelly keeps so busy, you wonder how he keeps the pounds on.
Still, between running all over the world doing personal appearances, taking care of the reindeer, overseeing toy production, and lifting all those heavy bags of gifts down the chimney, he’s coming here. Right here in Rutherford County, Santa has engagements all over the place – this month -- in malls, at parades, at pancake breakfasts, and even at a brand new ice skating rink.
Santa on Parade
LaVergne “A Hometown Christmas” Parade
December 2, 6 p.m.
The parade will begin at Veterans Memorial Park and it will end at LaVergne City Hall where there will be a tree lighting ceremony and a fireworks display.
Smyrna “Christmas Around the World” Christmas Parade
December 3, 2 p.m.
Down Lowry Street towards Sam Ridley Parkway, the Smyrna parade will have floats, bands, classic cars, Clydesdales, riding clubs, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus.
Murfreesboro “Peace on Earth” Christmas Parade
December 10, 2 p.m.
Beginning at the Middle Tennessee and East Main intersection, the parade will go down West Main Street and end just past the courthouse.
Santa at the Mall
Stones River Mall
1720 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro
Paws and Claus: Pet pictures with Santa
December 4 & 11, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
(Free 5 x 7 photo with the donation of a bag of dog or cat food)
Tinker Tots Program for Daycare Centers
December 4 - 6, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
$5 for a 4 x 6 photo for each student brought by a daycare,
five children minimum. Reservations required.
Photos with Santa
Through December 24.
Dec. 1 - 14: Mon. - Sat. 12 p.m. - 8 p.m., Sun 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Dec. 15 - 23: Mon. - Sat. 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. & 4 - 5 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Reservations and pre-sales available at stonesrivermall.com/events.
The Avenue at Murfreesboro
2615 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro
Snaps with Santa, courtyard near Talbots
December 8: 3 - 5 p.m.
December 9: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
December 10: 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Breakfast with Santa
Breakfast with Santa and MTSU Farm Animals
December 2, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
MTSU Livestock Center, 1720 Greenland Drive, Murfreesboro
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 three -12 (or free with donation of three non-perishable food items), under 3 free. A great opportunity for kids to learn about what farmers do through an interactive experience called Little Acres, get their photo taken with Santa, do crafts, enjoy MTSU’s chocolate milk, and much more!
Breakfast & Pajama Party with Santa
December 2, 9 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Stones River Mall, 1720 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro
A fundraiser for the Beesley Humane Foundation, which provides low-cost spas and neuters for cats and dogs, participating children will get to play games for free, receive a goodie bag, and a bear, all of $5! It all takes place inside Chuck E. Cheese.
Rotary Club of Murfreesboro Hotcakes and Holly
December 9, 7 to 10:30 a.m.
Middle Tennessee Christian School, 100 MTCS Road, Murfreesboro
Tickets: $10 adults, under 10 free. Santa and his elves will be present for pictures, and there will be entertainment by Johnny B and the Balladeers, MTCS Choir, and Center for the Arts.
4-H Pancake Breakfast and Marketplace
December 9, 8 - 11 a.m. Breakfast, 8 a.m. - 4 a.m. Marketplace
Lane Agri-Park Community Center, 315 John R. Rice Blvd., Murfreesboro
Tickets: $8.00 Adults, $5.00 Kids. This is an annual fundraiser for 4-H programing, with each ticket to the breakfast receive a complimentary photo with Santa (all others charged $5.00 per photo). Entrance to the marketplace is free of charge.
Santa Photo Ops
Santa Mini Sessions
December 9, 10 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Ogilvy Images, 283 Foundry Circle, Murfreesboro
$45 per session. Sessions with Santa include milk and cookies and last five to seven minutes. For more information go to eventbrite.com.
Santa’s Happenin’ Downtown
Santa on the Square
December, Fridays & Saturdays through Dec. 16
Inside the Rutherford County Courthouse
Friday, Dec. 1, 6 - 8 pm (bring your own camera)
Saturday, Dec. 2, 12 - 4 pm (bring your own camera)
Friday, Dec. 8, 6 - 8 pm (Shacklett’s Photography) Saturday,
Dec. 9, 12 - 4 pm (bring your own camera)
Friday, Dec. 15, 6 - 8 pm (Shacklett’s Photography) Saturday,
Dec. 16, 12 - 4 pm (bring your own camera)
Christmas Celebration at the Depot
December 9, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Along Front Street, Smyrna
There will be photos with Santa and his elves, carriage rides, hot chocolate, and new this year -- a marketplace in the Assembly Hall Building.
Santa in the Shop
Saturdays during the season,
times TBD - check their website
Veda’s Flower’s and Gifts, Murfreesboro Square
Other Santa Sightings
The Fountains at the Gateway Winterfest at the Fountains
1500 Medical Center Parkway, Murfreesboro
As part of their inaugural Winterfest, the new retail and office park opened Rutherford County’s first outdoor ice-skating rink in November. It will remain open through January 3, offering ice-skating for all ages. According to their website, “…other events during Winterfest will include themed skate nights, movie nights on the rink, Christmas caroling, and pictures with Santa. Lights and holiday decorations will adorn the central plaza to create a magical experience for all ages.” Pictures with Santa will take place on December 9. For more information about all of their holiday events, check out their website at fountainsatgateway.com.