Inside Station Medical Center at a Winter Wonderland Celebration, children and adults waited in line so the children could snag a photo with jolly Old St. Nicholas as downtown Altoona geared up for the annual Spirit of Christmas parade Thursday evening.
The United Way of Blair County's Winter Wonderland Celebration joined the parade festivities for the first time this year.
The celebration is "just one way we reach out to the community and get them in the holiday spirit," United Way Chief Professional Officer Robin Beck said.
Mirror photos by Patrick Waksmunski
Members of the Altoona Area High School marching band perform Thursday night in the Spirit of Christmas parade.
More than 50 units and 15 floats participated in the parade sponsored by Burgmeier Hauling.
At the celebration, photos with Santa were provided free by the Station Medical Center. Photography was by The Film Center. It had 26 vendors, and arts and crafts projects for children.
Buddy Bear and author Cory Geishauser read their new book, "Buddy Bear and the Merry Go Round Mystery." Donations for Toys for Tots and local food banks were collected.
Holiday musical entertainment included the Altoona Area High School Vocal Ensemble, Harmony Safari Quartet, the Altoona Community Band and Episcopal Churches of Blair County Combined Choir.
While Chelsea Nale, Sharon Nale, Maggie Shawley and her two kids, Jennifer, 3, and Christopher, 2, waited in line for a photo with Santa, someone was saving them a spot along the parade route.
"Oh, it's wonderful," Sharon Nale said of the Winter Wonderland event.
Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.