Santa will visit several San Juan County venues

Santa Claus will visit the Farmington Recreation Center, Farmington Regional Animal Shelter and Bloomfield Aquatic Center

Hannah Grover
Children pull Santa Claus around the pool on Dec. 13, 2014, during a Christmas celebration at the Bloomfield Aquatic Center.

FARMINGTON — As Christmas approaches, Santa Claus will visit several locations in San Juan County to meet with children and have his photo taken with pets.

Events on Saturday include the annual Jingle and Mingle at the Farmington Recreation Center, Santa Paws at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter and Santa at the Pool at Bloomfield Aquatic Center.

Gwen Johnson, the administrative aide for the recreation center, said Santa will arrive at approximately 10:15 a.m. at the Farmington Recreation Center, 1101 Fairgrounds Road, for the Jingle and Mingle. The free event is from 10 a.m. to noon.

"It's basically an open house, and there will be a couple of games for kiddos to play," Johnson said.

She said the games will include a cupcake walk, and prizes will be available. The event also gives families a chance to learn about upcoming programs and activities at the recreation center.

Lenny waits with his owners, Justina and Edwin Brownhat, at last year's Santa Paws event to have his photo taken with Santa Clause at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter.

Santa will also pose for photos with pets during the annual Santa Paws event at Farmington Regional Animal Shelter, 133 Browning Parkway. Owners can get photos of their pets with Santa from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. There is a $10 fee per photo or $8 for people who have adoption papers from the animal shelter.

Santa will also visit the Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. He will enter on an inflatable lounge chair pulled through the pool by children dressed as reindeer. The children who attend will receive gift bags, and there will be refreshments and door prizes. Tickets cost $2 per person or a canned food item.

The sixth annual event is organized by the Friends of the Pool. Rhonda Hensley, the group's president, said the event is especially important in low-income areas like Bloomfield.

"I don't know if sometimes this is the only thing (the children) get for Christmas," she said.

While her favorite part of the event is seeing children meet Santa Claus, Hensley said it can also be sad. Last year, the presents some children asked for brought tears to Santa's eyes.

"Children weren't asking for expensive things," Hensley said, adding that some of the children requested only food for the holiday.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.