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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow SANTA MALL FOR KIDS SET FOR SATURDAY

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SANTA MALL FOR KIDS SET FOR SATURDAY

Santa Claus is coming to town and he's showing up on a fire truck Saturday.

The jolly old elf's appearance will herald the opening of the annual Santa Mall, the one-stop shopping center where kids can buy presents for their parents for $5 or less.

This year's mall, co-sponsored by the La Grande Lions and the National Guard, will take place at the National Guard Armory on 12th Street. The mall will be open to kids only from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families are invited to shop from 1 to 3 p.m.

About 30 vendors will offer a variety of goods, from toys to personal care products, said Darleen Hendon, an organizer of the mall.

Santa has agreed to have his picture taken with each child visiting the mall Saturday. The pictures are free.

Low-income families who qualify may receive free scrip that will allow their children to shop for family members. The mall, however, is open to all children, no matter their income level.

For years, Santa Mall was sponsored and organized by the La Grande office of the state's Community Partnership Team, but two years ago, the state closed all volunteer offices and the future of the mall was in question.

Hendon, who worked at the Community Partnership Team, said she did not want to see the mall die. She contacted a few friends, including Donna Brownlee, now mall chairperson. The Lions Club agreed to be a co-sponsor, and the National Guard donated space in the armory.

Private donations and the fee to vendors so far has kept the mall open, Hendon said. Businesses or organizations that want to have a sale table are asked to call Hendon, 963-5249, or Brownlee, 962-6270 by Thursday.

Donations may be sent to the La Grande Lions Santa Mall, 61351 Conley Road, Cove 97824.

"We plan to keep going," Hendon said. "We're already planning for next year's mall."

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