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Ho, ho, home for the holidays

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

The lines at Hays Regional Airport snaked through the lobby Saturday afternoon, but it wasn't a long wait for security that created the controlled chaos.

It was the airport's Home for the Holidays open house and anticipation of the appearance of Santa Claus that filled the terminal with excitement.

Robert Johnson, airport manager, said the event is one of several the airport hosts during the year.

Santa arrived on schedule via a Cessna 182 piloted by Dan Stecklein.

"It worked out really good," Stecklein said of the flight from up North.

Peals of laughter and squeals of joy rang out from the children crowding the terminal windows to catch a glimpse of the plane bringing the jolly old man.

After Santa disembarked, a line quickly formed for youngsters to share their wish lists and get a candy cane.

Andy and Michele Kieffer brought their 17-month-old daughter, Avery, to see Santa for the first time.

"Last year, she was too young," Andy Kieffer said.

"We have no idea how she'll react," Michele Kieffer said.

Avery seemed interested in all of the activity but unconcerned as she watched Santa walk past.

The open house was one of several activities for Stormy Boisvert and Ethan Pfannenstiel.

Boisvert said her children are grown, so she enjoys spending time with Ethan, 6.

"It's aunie and Ethan day," she said, pronouncing "auntie" the way Ethan does.

The two already had seen a movie and planned to go to dinner before returning to Boisvert's home to build a fort and have hot chocolate.

First though, Ethan wanted to give Santa his Christmas list, which included a science kit.

"I'm going to make a science experiment to turn me into a wolf," he said if his wish is granted Christmas morning.

Members of the Fly Hays committee and other volunteers served hot dogs, cookies and other refreshments to those attending, said Jana Jordan, director of Hays Convention and Visitors Bureau.

"So many people volunteer and help out," Stecklein said. "That's what keeps Hays vibrant."