IF YOU GO
What: The HoHo Expo
Where: The Chattanooga Cenvention Center
When: Today, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Santa Claus donned his signature red suit, boarded his sleigh and landed in Chattanooga on Saturday, just in time for the city's biggest holiday shopping event.
Kris Kringle himself, jolly as ever, was at the Times Free Press' HoHo Expo on Saturday, and he will return today from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Sisters Sawyer Grace Hulsey, 8, and Carolina, 6, were two of the many children who had their picture taken with him. They both said the experience was "cool," while Carolina spun around energetically, saying she had asked him for a toy Santa for Christmas.
The two-day event began Saturday and will continue today from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Santa, who is booked through December, did not have time for an interview, but instead nobly chose to listen to excited and frightened children alike tell him their Christmas wishes.
Parking and entry to the event are free. It features more than a hundred merchants selling specialty holiday items, toys, jewelry, home accessories, clothing and more. There also are family activities, music and games.
Many used the event to buy Christmas gifts and take in the festivities. That was the case for new Chattanooga resident Lee Ann Lenz, who moved to the Scenic City three months ago from Iowa. Lenz was invited by a friend and wanted to see the event while shopping for Christmas gifts.
"It's wonderful. It is a lot of fun and has lots of different vendors," she said. "I've never been and wanted to come check it out."
For the vendors, it offered a chance for them to display and sell their products to the thousands who came.
Michelle and Michael Donoho, from LaFayette, Ga., sell jams and jellies and brought their locally made product to the event for the first time.
"I have been pleasantly surprised. I wasn't expecting this many people, but it's been very nice," Michelle Donoho said. "The people have been great."