Santa in downtown Evanston last year

Downtown Evanston will play host to Santa again this year.

Following his appearance at the holiday tree lighting ceremony in Fountain Square, St. Nick will return to town for two weekends of visits with Evanston youngsters in December.

Downtown merchants and the downtown marketing organization EvMark plan to make Santa feel right at home with a North Pole style locale at 1620 Sherman Ave. in the Sherman Plaza passageway just North of LA Fitness.

With two Christmas trees, a huge Santa throne, glistening red ornaments from Macy’s and Christmas carols in the background, it will let kids have “quality time” with Santa, while parents snap photos for use on holiday cards.

Children who visit with Santa will get goodie bags — 100 percent biodegradable, recyclable and reusable bags, of course — full of coupons for gifts and toys from downtown businesses while supplies last.

Santa will be welcoming visitors from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 6 through Dec. 14.

Parents who drive there kids to see Santa on Sundays will also find that parking is free in downtown Evanston all day Sunday.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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