Santa Claus comes to town

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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With the way kids were shouting out his name Sunday as he rode along Water Street in St. John’s, waving from his sleigh aboard a transport truck, you would gather children are pretty interested in Santa Claus.

There were indeed plenty vying for jolly old Saint Nicholas’ attention during the Downtown St. John’s Christmas Parade, which attracted thousands of onlookers Sunday afternoon.

Prior to the parade, there was talk of 60,000 to 70,000 people converging on the downtown area to watch it.

Though it would be near impossible to verify that number, attendance was strong, with bodies packing every sidewalk along the parade’s route, which started in the Fort William Building parking lot and headed west before finishing at the Railway Coastal Museum on Water Street.

Turnout benefited greatly from Sunday’s weather, which was cool but not bone-chilling, with a slight breeze at times and little in the way of precipitation, barring a few snowflakes that fell shortly before 1 p.m.

Those who came heard plenty of festive tunes, ranging from Christmas songs played on accordion to marching bands hammering out melodies on glockenspiel and speakers blasting.

 

Then there were the dancers, who were probably warmer than most at the parade given their near-constant need to move and shake.

Children seemed happy with or without the parade. Before it got underway, many could be found playing in snow leftover from Thursday’s storm, often heard squealing in delight as they played with one another.

Many kept their energy up by consuming sugar-infused treats like cotton candy and hot chocolate.

There were many costumed folks to wave at the children. Some wore outfits depicting characters directly linked to the holiday season, like Santa’s elves or Dr. Suess’ Grinch.

Other costumes alluded to the commercial side of Christmas, including characters from the Star Wars films and Super Mario Brothers video games.

The more recognizable the costumes were, the more excited the children became. Among the more popular characters to greet them was St. John’s IceCaps mascot Buddy the Puffin, who handed — or perhaps winged — out a flurry of high fives to the excited children.

Also popular were the Mazol Shriners with their miniature cars, or “funny cars” as one child was heard to exclaim numerous times.

Along with celebrations of the upcoming Christmas season were some efforts to help others. The Community Food Sharing Association accepted food donations that were laid into the back of a truck.

All in all, it was a fine primer for kids counting down the days until Santa Claus comes to visit their homes. Though they may have wanted him to break protocol Sunday and start firing off gifts from his sleigh on Sunday, hopefully they can wait.

If children were not eagerly anticipating Christmas before Sunday, they certainly are now.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TeleAndrew

Organizations: Red Cross, Salvation Army, RNC Const. Crime Stoppers

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  • AJ
    November 29, 2011 - 10:13

    Great reporting by the Telegram. The real "news" would have been to report on the medical emergencies, however I only find that info out by fellow readers who left comments. At least now I undersatnd why the parade was sooo long to get to the other end of Water Street.

  • KM
    November 29, 2011 - 05:06

    It was a beautiful day for sure but the Parade took too long. There were more dance schools & animals than before. My child was bored by the time Santa arrived. And the funny thing is that every other float was so slow going by you never thought it would move but Santa went by so fast it was like a blink. If I go back next year I won't go until 2:30 for sure.

  • bruce anstey
    November 28, 2011 - 19:31

    in case you didn't get my first e-mail........why did santa "not "use his reindeer in the parade...?..,instead of those white-tailed deer...?...!!!!

  • Bruce Templeton
    November 28, 2011 - 14:45

    A wonderful effort enjoyed by our whole family. We asked and were told that there were medical emergencies in the parade which caused some delays but that can't be anticipated. St. John Ambulance was there to respond we were told. Hats off to the organizing committee for a great effort.

  • AJ
    November 28, 2011 - 11:49

    "Children seemed happy with or without the parade". Well considering it took so long for the parade to arrive at the other end of water street they had to entertain themselves somehow! My 4 year old child was tired of waiting for it to arrive and once it did she was bored after 1 hour and wanted to leave - she didn't even want to stay to see Santa. This is the first year I have went to the parade with my daughter (usually go to mount pearl) and we won't be going back - to long to start, to long of a parade (1.5 hrs - really!), not enough Christmas floats (Vehicles with a bow do not count!). I have heard similar comments from other parents. The parade wasn't great.

    • .peter
      November 28, 2011 - 16:43

      What can I say, unwashed vehicles paper banners lots of dogs poor graphics (apart from EXIT REALITY) GREAT FLOAT A LOT OF TIME SPENT ON THAT ONE,I think it was the best I have ever seen. tell me why Walmart, Home Depo Canadian Tire, Sears, Tim Horton,s McDonalds and other big buss. why don't they have a float in it, they take our money ! well if this is the best Down Town can come up with then maybe we need to scrap it the TV will show us better. o yes The shriners deserve a plug it must cost them a lot to keep there cars runnung and they do it just for the kids WoW have they ever been given a thumbs up from the parade committie, I guess it's a who's who.

  • tom
    November 28, 2011 - 11:04

    Great job on the parade and buddy the Puffin was great. If they are going to force Icecap players to sit on the back of Danny's car, could they at least ask them to wave to the kids??

  • Concerned
    November 28, 2011 - 08:12

    We enjoyed the parade, but one of the Shriners fell from a float in front of the Tim's on Duckworth and Prescott St. and I was wondering if anyone had an update on how he is doing. He had a nasty gash on this head. Several Parade viewers ran to his side and assisted in getting him out from inunder the wheels of the float, while others called 911 and turned their children away. It was prety startling, but we hope he is well. It was a little nerve wrecking to continue watching the parade after that, especially seeing Santa standing on his sleigh bench. I think the rule of "stay seated while the vehicle is moving" sould be a reminder to all parade participants.

    • Bruce Templeton
      November 28, 2011 - 15:13

      There were two medical emergeicies during the parade. I will pass your comments about staying seated to santa. I have known him personally well for over 30 years. All we are trying to do is make wonderful memories for children. We are very grateful to great community companies who put their time and effort into this event. Thank you Universal Helicopters for flying Santa. Bruce Templeton