Santa Claus has taken over downtown Rome as a part of the Sidewalk Santa Takeover community fundraiser currently being hosted by Rome’s Office of Downtown Development.

Participants built and decorated Santas that were placed around downtown on Wednesday. The public is invited to vote for their favorite at a cost of $1 per vote; proceeds will go towards the DDA’s Christmas decoration fund, as will the registration fees collected from takeover participants, says Megan Otwell, Director of Public Relations.

Votes may be submitted in-person throughout December at two locations: The Office of Downtown Development, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; and Rome Area History Center, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. Votes may also be cast via PayPal (, be sure to include the Santa for which you are voting.

The winner of the Sidewalk Santa Takeover will be bestowed a Golden Santa, a commemorative plaque, and (of course) bragging rights, adds Otwell.

Those with questions about the contest are directed by Otwell to contact the Rome DDA office at (706) 236-4520.

Otwell reminds shoppers to support local businesses over the holiday season; some of them are still in recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

The DDA’s Rome for the Holidays returns this evening and continues every Thursday through December 23rd. Downtown businesses will stay open late to accommodate last minute shoppers.