Santa Claus, tiny reindeer and a few Whos from Whoville visited downtown Harlem Wednesday night.
The Christmas spirit continued its sweep of the Hi-Line, as Harlem’s downtown businesses welcomed strollers invited by the city’s civic group.
Civic group member Helen Schroeder, collecting ballots for the evening’s costume and ugly Christmas sweater contests, said that the group started the event several years ago to encourage the community to come together for the holidays.
“(We want) just to get people out at Christmas, ” Schroeder said. “Christmas used to just come and go in Harlem, so we wanted to do something about that. ”
At KB’s Deli, Santa was taking pictures with children — asking how they’d behaved this year, hearing their requests and distributing candy canes — as a fundraiser for the local 4-H organization.
Down the street, vendors had set up booths at Hitching Post Pizza, selling crafts and raffle tickets for gift baskets.
Over at the Harlem Public Library, a book sale was raising funds for the library’s children’s programs.
Participants in the costume contests were given cards, to be stamped by all of the participating businesses before being judged for a $20 Harlem business gift certificate.
A few attendees enjoying snacks said they wished that there would be snow for the town’s celebration. By the end of the evening, the sky agreed and let it snow.