The Jolly Old Elf arrived Thursday night in downtown Lawrence, greeted by hundreds of children and their parents.
"Tanta Cwaus! Tanta Cwaus! Tanta Cwaus!"
Three-year-old David Schumock waved and squirmed in his mother's arms, pointing as Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived Thursday evening at Ninth and Massachusetts streets.
David and his mother, Pam Scott, were among hundreds of children and their parents who watched the Clauses slowly climb down from the top of Weaver's Department Store with the help of the Lawrence Fire Department's ladder truck.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! It's so nice to be in Lawrence tonight to see all the friendly faces," Santa told the crowd. "We had to land up on the roof because there was no room on the street."
Santa said his reindeer made the trip with no complications.
"They're doing just fine. They're resting and they've had a long flight. But we do this so they're in good shape for Christmas when they carry the sled full of toys," he said.
It was the first official trip from the North Pole to Lawrence for Mrs. Claus, who was escorted down the fire truck ladder by two firefighters.
Santa, carrying a bag of candy, appeared to have the grace of a veteran firefighter as he deftly made his way down the ladder to the cheering children below.
After shaking hands with hundreds of children, Santa took a seat and posed for pictures inside the Santa House in front of Mercantile Bank at Ninth and Massachusetts. Mrs. Claus was ushered to a horse-drawn trolley, where she accompanied families on rides.
Santa will be at the Santa House during the holiday shopping season, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Before the jolly old couple arrived, the gathering of parents and children were entertained in front of the bank by dance groups from New York School and Central Junior High. "Home Harmonies," a group of carolers that raises funds for Habitat for Humanity, sang carols to get the gathering in the proper holiday spirit.