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Waynesboro hosts 'Breakfast with Santa'

November 30, 1999|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. ? It was two days before Christmas and huddled in tight, hundreds of children listened with delight.

A voice deep and clear boomed to those far and near, and told the old tale of St. Nick and reindeer.

In the cool winter air, three states it did cross, broadcast on the radio, it was breakfast with Claus.

Broadcast Saturday morning on WJEJ-AM from BPO Elks Lodge 731 on West Main Street in Waynesboro, "Breakfast with Santa" was the fourth installment in a series hosted by Waynesboro resident John Shindledecker.

Shindledecker first staged "Breakfast in Waynesboro" for WaynesboroFest 2006. The show is based on Waynesboro-native Tom Breneman's work in the 1950s radio show "Breakfast in Hollywood."

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The Christmas-themed show featured music, entertainment by Peggy Dawson's character Maybell Jerkwater, and a reading of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by NBC25 weatherman and WJEJ morning talk show host Lou Scally. For the live audience, it also featured a Boyds Bear giveaway and, of course, breakfast.

Shindledecker said he chose to do a Christmas show because he wanted to feature the children.

"I wanted to get the kids to talk on air," he said.

Hundreds of parents brought their children to the Elks Lodge on Saturday to dine with Santa and send holiday wishes to family and friends.

Walking among the tables, Shindledecker asked, "Who wants to say Merry Christmas?"

As hands shot in the air, he made his way around the room and gave most of the children their few seconds of airtime.

"I want to say Merry Christmas," Casey Warner, 7, said into the microphone.

Accompanied by his grandmother, Peggy Warner, Casey smiled after hearing his voice amplified.

"I think this is just great," Peggy Warner said of the event.

However, not everyone at the breakfast got airtime.

Standing near the back of the room, clad in red and white, Santa Claus listened to the broadcast and talked to an occasional child.

"Santa doesn't give speeches," he said. "I am just here to talk with the kids and hand out bears."

Shindledecker said Saturday's "Breakfast with Santa" was the first breakfast broadcast he hosted with the holiday icon, but it might not be the last.

"I would do this again," he said.

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