Santa gets beard caught in rappelling stunt

11:06 AM, Nov 30, 2011   |    comments
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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (CBS12) -- Santa's arrival at the Gardens Mall was delayed Saturday when his beard got caught in rappelling equipment hanging from the mall's ceiling, making for a painfully slow descent as wide-eyed children watched from below (See video below article).

In an effort to delight children, Santa rappelled from the glass ceiling near the Gardens Mall food court in Palm Beach Gardens Saturday.

But he became stuck almost immediately after descending from a catwalk as a helper elf watched, inching slowly down while an emcee led confused children through a strained rendition of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and pleas for more "magic" to help him down.

"Magic can happen! Magic can happen if you guys sing!" the emcee pleads.

About halfway down, "Santa" tore off the beard and attached hat, revealing himself to be a simple helper and not the actual jolly old elf himself. He vigorously bounced up and down trying to work the beard through the tangle, making it safely to the mall floor after a few minutes.

Video of the incident was provided to CBS affiliate CBS12 News courtesy of Milly Olson. No elves were harmed.

Gardens Mall reports that the helper is a professional rope climber who did the stunt for free. He did a run-through without a hitch, but sans beard, mall officials say. He left quickly afterward and wishes to remain anonymous.

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