Annual Southern Heritage Air Foundation event draws hundreds

Published 6:09 pm Saturday, December 1, 2018

MOUND, La. — The menu was pancakes and sausage, the dress was pajamas and the featured attraction was a jolly man in a red suit trimmed with white fur.

The Southern Heritage Air Foundation’s sixth Pajamas Pancakes & Planes — Breakfast with Santa drew 500 people to the organization’s hangar at the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport in Mound for a morning of entertainment and a chance for children to get in an early word and get their picture taken with Santa.

“We started in 2013,” said SHAF president Patty Meekus. “We had one session at 8 a.m. and 100 people attended. We tried to find a way to get more seating, and in 2014, we had two sessions and had 200 people. The tickets were sold out by Thanksgiving. This year, the tickets went on sale Nov. 1, and were sold out in 18 hours. We’re having 250 at each session.”

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The SHAF hangar was decked out in Christmas decorations, with Christmas music playing though the building and the cartoon movie “Frosty the Snowman” projected on one wall of the hangar. Children wore various styles of Christmas-themed pajamas and visited several stations placed among the Foundation’s aircraft in the building to decorate cookies, make ornaments or jewelry.

For a $10 donation, families could participate in a drawing for several prizes, including a Power Wheels Mustang powered by an electric motor. The proceeds from the drawing were split between St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Foundation.

“We raised $900 at the 8 a.m. session,” Meekus said. “That’s $450 for St. Jude and $450 for the Foundation.”

But the main attraction was Santa, who sat in a large chair and received children in the shadow of the Foundation’s P-51 Mustang, “Charlotte’s Chariot.”

“We’re here for Santa, not the pancakes; we’re on a diet,” said Amanda Wallace of Tallulah, who was with her daughter Salah.

Salah, who earlier received a purple person hat, said she asked Santa for a My Little Pony and Trolls.

Has she been good this year? “Yes,” she said with a grin.

Olivia Clare Copes, who also lives in Tallulah, wore a tiger hat as she ate pancakes with her mother, Kate.

“This is my second time to see Santa,” Olivia said, adding she also attended the 8 a.m. session. She said she asked Santa for a puppet.

“She wants to be a ventriloquist,” he mother said.

Jessica Sanders, a Tallulah resident who teaches at Beechwood Elementary in Warren County, was at the program with her daughter Kauri, who wants a Hoverboard and an Apple Watch, while her friend Kaiden Lindsey, wants “a lot of things,” including a skateboard and robots.

Tylan ainsworth, another friend, said he was asking Santa for a Hoverboard, a drone and 18-wheelers. “I like 18-wheelers,” he said.

“We all get together for this,” Sanders said of the people at her table. “We’re all family and friends. We enjoy it.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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