Mall of America Gets Its First Black Santa | NBC 6 South Florida
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Mall of America Gets Its First Black Santa

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Mall of America Gets Its First Black Santa
    The Santa Experience
    Santa Larry Jefferson, pictured, is the first black Santa to be featured at the Mall of America's Santa Experience.

    The Mall of America is celebrating diversity this holiday season. 

    For the first time since it opened in the early 1990s, a black Santa will hear children's wishes at the Minnesota mall. 

    "It's pretty historic," Landon Luther, co-owner of The Santa Experience, which runs a small photo studio in the mall, told NBC. "We want Santa to be for everyone."

    Luther said he wanted a diverse bunch to pose for photos with visitors this year, so he sent staff members to a Santa convention in Bronson, Missouri. 

    Man Visits Disneyland 2,000 Times In a Row

    [NATL] Man Visits Disneyland 2,000 Times In a Row

    A Huntington Beach man has set a record for most consecutive visits to Disneyland. Jeff Reitz, 44, has visited the park 2,000 times in a row. Reitz started visiting the park every day when he was unemployed and wanted to keep his spirits up. Employed at the VA now, Reitz continues to visit every day after work because it helps him to decompress after a long day. His favorite ride is the Matterhorn Bobsleds, which he first rode with his mom when he was 2 years old. 

    (Published Friday, June 23, 2017)

    There was a single black Santa at the convention, Texas resident Larry Jefferson. Luther got in touch with Jefferson, who agreed to a four-day contract at the country's largest mall. 

    And so far, there's been nothing but holiday cheer for Jefferson. 

    "It's been nothing but positive. We're getting a lot of support," Luther told NBC.

    In fact, Jefferson is so popular that he's now fully booked for the weekend that he is scheduled to appear at the mall.

    Luther is hoping Jefferson will come back to the Mall of America for a longer stint as Santa next year.