On Friday, Riverside Park was packed as more than 700 people waited for St. Nick to cruise into view aboard the Buddy’s Boys in traditional Apalachicola fashion.

More than 250 children shared their holiday wishes with the holly jolly elf and were treated to hot dogs and popcorn, courtesy of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce,  which coordinated the day's events. 

Age-appropriate storybooks were provided by the “Santa Says…Read” booth sponsored by the Dinner Divas and Bring Me A Book Franklin.

The number of youngsters who sat on Santa’s knee increased by about 40 over last year’s Black Friday festivities. Luminaries lined the festive streets and businesses were open until 8 p.m. or even later.

Restaurants and bars reported record sales and in many it was standing room only. Downtown stores were packed with shoppers.

Carolers in traditional garb made the rounds and with Pam Nobles’ dancing angels on hand to entertain the crowd it definitely looked a lot like Christmas.

Members of the Philaco Women’s’ Club continued their own Christmas tradition with a booth selling baked goods and crafts to support their charitable outreach projects. The ladies raised nearly $500, including $100 from sales of their widely-praised cookbook. The books are on sale at several downtown merchants.

Philaco will also have cookbooks and Christmas ornaments, including many handcrafted from wine corks, at the Holiday Fresh Market in downtown Apalachicola this Saturday, Dec. 2.