State College

Candy Cane Carnival welcomes Santa to the Nittany Mall

Sugar Plum Fairy Mary Rose Valentine leads a procession of dancers from “The Nutcracker” to introduce Santa on Saturday at the Candy Cane Carnival at the Nittany Mall. The young dancers are from the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania.
Sugar Plum Fairy Mary Rose Valentine leads a procession of dancers from “The Nutcracker” to introduce Santa on Saturday at the Candy Cane Carnival at the Nittany Mall. The young dancers are from the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania. adrey@centredaily.com

Mary Rose Valentine has been dancing for 13 years.

And on Saturday, the State College 16-year-old danced as the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Valentine twirled around on her ballet pointe shoes, mingled with children and read “The Nutcracker.”

Valentine and other members of the Performing Arts School of Central Pennsylvania’s “The Nutcracker” cast were invited to be a part of the Candy Cane Carnival at the Nittany Mall.

While they didn’t necessarily perform a skit, Director of Outreach Linda Hildebrand said the day was still a little bit of a “dress rehearsal.”

“It’s a fun way to kick off the holidays and get some of the kinks out,” she said.

The group will hold full performances next month at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

The Candy Cane Carnival is a mall tradition that dates back more than 20 years.

Mall General Manager Polly Welch said the carnival included 10 vendors, which held children’s holiday-themed activities, a meet-and-greet with some of “The Nutcracker” characters and the welcoming of Santa.

Santa passed out candy canes during the event

Last year, Santa provided children with more than 500 candy canes.

“We ran out last year, so it really was an indication that we had a good turnout,” Welch said. “It’s the same this year.”

The mall also annually hosts a similar event during Easter, which includes the Easter Bunny.

“A lot of people look for a weather-controlled kind of holiday atmosphere that’s fun for the family, and that’s what we can provide,” Welch said.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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