Friday nights with Santa at Storybook Theater in Hanapepe

HANAPEPE — Santa Claus is coming to town. Historic Hanapepe Town, that is.

The Storybook Theater will host Santa in Paradise in Hanapepe during Art Night starting tonight and continuing Dec. 9, 16 and 23 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Phil Worwa, who has portrayed Santa Claus for over almost 40 years, will be the big man in the red suit as he reaches out to children and parents, spreading the Christmas spirit.

“I’ve always enjoyed being Santa Claus,” Worwa said. “So when I came here (to Kauai) and found a new venue, Storybook Theater, and I looked into their background. Mark Jeffers, the executive director (of Storybook Theater), and I started talking and we thought it would be a great fit for Santa.”

Worwa loves being part of a tradition at Storybook Theater, but didn’t really anticipate it taking off like it has.

“A gentleman a few years ago donated a Santa sleigh to Storybook Theater in my name, and we thought we could use it just to do this very informal, very one-on-one thing with the kids,” Worwa said. “I just felt that this was way more valuable for the kids.”

“We take pictures, the parents and kids stand in line, we talk, I’ll read a story at the beginning and tell them to work on literacy,” Worwa said. “I’ll tell them to try go to the library more or I’ll tell them to pick up one of our Christmas books here at Storybook theater; it’s a great time to start reading a few minutes a night and just to talk about Christmas and get excited about it.”

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