Archive for Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Santa makes annual visit to Baldwin

December 11, 2002

Not only does Santa Claus know who's been naughty and nice, he also knows a little about Baldwin City's growth. He says that's nice, too, and added a "ho, ho, ho" for emphasis.

Santa was in town Sunday night for the annual Light Parade, which culminates with the lighting of the community Christmas tree. Both the parade, now in its fourth year, and the crowd that attends it continue to grow. That matches the city's growth in both businesses and homes, he said.

In an exclusive interview with the Signal following his usual tour of Baldwin businesses after the parade, Santa reflected on what's become of the city over the years.

"It's growing and it's growing well," said Claus. "There are a great bunch of wonderful children and mothers and fathers that came to celebrate tonight.

"I've seen the number of children grow that come to the parade," he said. "I've seen it grow from one child in the 1980s to the hundreds tonight. The Light Parade is something that the city has done for me that's great."

It's old and new for Santa around Baldwin. He mentioned how wonderful it is to be coming down Eighth Street in the parade, passing by Baker University, then the First United Methodist Church and seeing the people coming out after the annual Candlelight Vespers ceremony.

Of course he's still riding in the antique fire truck, driven by Baldwin Fire Department Chief Allen Craig. But this year there was more to the tour afterward and that's where more of the growth came in.

"There are a lot of new businesses all over town," said Claus. "It's great to see good, positive growth. Chief Craig did not take me through the drive thru at the new fast food place. But Chief Craig did take me to all the businesses and they were all glad to see me."

But, who wouldn't be happy to see St. Nick? Everyone loves Santa and that's what keeps him coming back.

"For all the time I've come here, it's always been the happiness and excitement in the childrens' faces," Santa said about his favorite part of his annual visit. "To see the love in their eyes is wonderful. Of course to Santa, everyone is a child. The ones you consider elderly are children to me."

Of course he takes a little different stance on temperature, too. It was right around freezing Sunday night when he was in Baldwin, but it didn't bother him a bit. And, don't forget that better watch out part.

"Of course I love the cold," said Claus. "This is kind of warm for me. Driving around on the antique fire truck was fun as usual. I come back here quite often and have lots of eyes to tell me who is naughty and nice."

And, in case the youngsters are wondering, he was listening Sunday night to all the wishes that were bestowed upon him as the throng of people surrounded him at the corner of Eighth and High streets.

"I think a lot of wishes will come true," said Claus. "For every child I talked to tonight and everyone I will talk to until Christmas, my wish for them is to have a Merry Christmas.

"There's not a limit to giving and that's why I come here every year," he said.

With that Santa ended the interview and gave a steadfast "ho, ho, ho, and to all a good night" as he magically disappeared.

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