December 8, 2017
Cedar Key School and the City of Cedar Key, aided by many community donations, created a magical night for well over one hundred pre-kindergarteners through fifth graders last evening, Thursday, December 7.  In years past, the Children's Christmas Program has been located at the Cedar Key Community Center;  this evening, the event took place at the richly decorated second home of the students.
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Gym bleachers were packed full well before the 5:45 pm progrm with grandmothers, grandfathers, moms, dads, infants, toddlers, relatives, and friends.      At precisely the appointed time, Cedar Key School Principal Josh Slemp welcomed the audience, made several announcements, and introduced pre-kindergarteners. 

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On the risers climbed ten four-year-olds, dressed in reds, silver sparkles, shades of green, and some topped with Santa caps.  Gleefully, they sang “Jingle Bells” and “Deck the Halls.”  Each grade followed in turn upon the risers and sang two Christmas tunes, ranging in solemnity from “Away in a Manger” to “Holly, Jolly Christmas.”
Performances became more elaborate and animated as the grades progressed.  The fifth graders punctuated their  “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” rendition with fingers pointed at the adduce when the word “you” was uttered and feet stomped on other cue words.
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At 6”30 pm sharp, the singing students filed out of the gymnasium with their teachers while the audience proceeded half to eat hamburgers and hot dogs, and cookies in the Cafeteria and the other half to visit Santa in the Auditorium. 
The room where Santa sat was a hive of activity.  Santa, enthroned upon the stage and surrounded by a Christmas tree and other festoonery, sat with every child and listened attentively to his wishes.  Children could occupy themselves with activities of the season while they waited to speak personally to Santa.  Some eight tables were arranged with materials:  some children wrote letters to Santa and mailed them to him in mailboxes labeled Santa and North Pole; others colored cards to mail to lonely nursing home patients; still more created their own Christmas tree decorations from reindeer, trees, and sleigh precut forms.
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Every child took home a “goodie bag” containing and edible and an ornament.  In addition, each child participated in a raffle that awarded ten bicycles of various sizes to the winners.
The Cedar Key School Scholastic Book Fair was also open in the Library for all to visit. The proceeds of all sales will go to provide new books for the students.   

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Best of all, each Santa visitor and parent  received a picture of himself with Santa.
Editor’s Note:  Hard to say how many worked so diligently on this effort, but surely among them are City Hall staff members Crystal, Telicia, and Brandy.   Principal Slemp’s knows how very hard his staff worked; Cedar Key News noted Ms. Bailey and Ms. Cato.  As everyone in town knows, Fire Chief Robinson, Police Chief Virgil Sandlin, and Vice-Mayor Sue Colson are more than integral to the evening’s success