On Friday evening, Santa arrived on St. George Island with less fanfare than in recent years.

Only four runners participated in this year’s Jingle Jog and lines to visit St. Nick were short. But the kids who came had a blast and there was plenty of cocoa and cookies for everybody.

Each child received a Christmas stocking, or for very young children, the gift was an age-appropriate stuffed animal. As in the past, the St. George Island Business Association staged and sponsored the event, although this year, they had extra financial help from the St. George Island Civic Club. Organizer Beth Brinkley said the civic club has expressed an interest in taking a more active role in the future.

Brinkley said Santa seemed to have done his homework and was asking the children lots of questions about what interested them at home and in school. “It started out slow, but then things picked up,” she said.

Each child up to fifth grade also received an age-appropriate book purchased by the Dinner Divas, a group of local ladies who raise money for charities by catering. The books were purchased in partnership with Bring Me a Book Franklin and like last year, will be distributed to children visiting Santa across the county this holiday season. Diva Adele Colston said they handed out 51 books at the island event.

“The kids were very excited about our books this year because we picked books we knew they read in school. They were thrilled to see familiar books,” said Dinner Diva founder Bunnie Ison.

Ison said the demand for books for preschoolers was especially heavy and Bring Me a Book had to order more after Black Friday in Apalachicola.

Brinkley sent special thanks to Chris Griggs who helped Santa arrive safe and sound on the island.