Archive for Saturday, November 24, 2007

Santa swoops in for early visit

November 24, 2007

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Santa comes to town

Santa Claus was in town before Christmas, and his arrival drew a big crowd. Enlarge video

Santa Claus may need to find a bigger sleigh this year.

Children waiting for his arrival at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets Friday night had some mighty big gift requests for him, including 10-year-old Skye Yoder's request for a piano.

Santa's highly anticipated appearance atop Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass., was part of the city's downtown holiday lighting ceremony, an annual tradition that kicks off the season.

Kathleen Christian and her grandson Sebi Brown, 7, have shared the tradition for the past seven years.

"The town comes down and everybody's together enjoying this; you meet new people, you see people you know," Christian said. "It's just a real festive time of year."

It was clear they were veterans of the ceremony. They sat in their lawn chairs with blankets and played an Old Maid card game to keep them busy until Santa arrived.

But just how does Santa get on top of Weaver's?

"I think he uses his reindeers," Sebi said.

However he appeared, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical personnel were there to bring him to the ground, where hundreds of people waited and watched.

Paislea Bean, 6, and McKenna Bean, 5, were especially excited, waving at Santa from the corner the whole time with their foster mother, Kim Murphy.

After decorating Christmas stockings and doing some holiday shopping together, Murphy said she was ready for the ceremony.

"I always consider this the first day of the holiday season," she said.

The evening also featured the Dickens Carolers, the Kaw Valley Fife and Drum Corps and Captain Kettle, The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign mascot.

Mayor Sue Hack proclaimed the commencement of The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign. Salvation Army Lt. Wes Dalberg said this was the city's 121st Christmas campaign to raise money for the needy in Douglas County.

"Although we've been out for two weeks, we're kicking off the effort in earnest tonight," he said.

Comments

logicisking 7 years, 4 months ago

i accidentally drove through the intersection of 9th & mass at this exact time -- i didn't realize what was going on until my car was at the intersection or i would have taken a different way. they should close off this block to traffic as people were overflowing into the streets. everyone was so busy looking up at the top of weavers it hadn't occurred to them they were in the street and backing up into moving traffic. i would hate to see an accident happen there in the future.

pomegranate 7 years, 4 months ago

I was there, and it just seems that things could and should have been done a little different. First, they do need to close off that intersection and block the streets from anyone entering and getting stuck for a while. Then, they need something like a truck or podium, or table,or whatever, and a microphone. There should be a little program and announcement of the lighting, and we could not even hear the singers from the north-west corner.Let's put a little more ooomph into this. Aside from all that, the lights are beautiful this year. It really looks nice to have ALL the trees lit. And the light pole garland looks great. The Santa rescue was quite interesting. It was neat seeing that big ladder come out and hook onto the building.

YourNameInFull 7 years, 4 months ago

I always love this wonderful Lawrence tradition. This year was beautiful...the lights were great, the firefighters were heroic as usual, and this year the music was perfect. I loved the carols and that you could actually hear them. But then, right after the music and the talk by the Salvation Army, came a tacky and ridiculous rendition of the 12 days of Christmas, hawking goods from who must have been downtown sponsors. Give me a break. This is one tradition that has nothing to do with marketing and commercialism and everything to do with being part of a community. I couldn't believe it. Had I not seen all of the happy children, who were overjoyed enough to see Santa that they were oblivious to just how contrived and stupid that song was, it would have really tainted the whole experience. It smacks of one of those Chamber events that starts with great intentions and winds up being a big party for the sponsors that we're all supposed to be gullible enough to enjoy. Better job next year, I hope. This is really a wonderful event that makes me proud to live here, so I hope that the luster doesn't have to be lost for the few bucks that a song like this definitely won't generate.

kappyblu 7 years, 4 months ago

This was my first time going down there to the ceremony. I was so disappointed. We were one of the first to arrive and the article said that festivities would begin at 5. The only thing going on at 5 was a guy on stilts playing with the children. The singing started waaaaay late and Santa arrived almost a half hour late. It was so cold and crowded. My kids enjoyed seeing Santa coming down on that ladder, but were so sad when we couldn't get up to see him. I agree with the other posters that there needs to be better traffic control, louder speakers and better organization next year!!!!

Kat Christian 7 years, 4 months ago

Give it a break people. There are always complainers in the crowd. I've been coming to this event for years and this year was the best and it keeps getting better. What do you want New York? Well this isn't New York it is Lawrence - small town. If you want that kind of spectacular to to NY City. Stop complaining and enjoy what you do have. Someone recently told me: Stop worrying about what you don't have and appreciate the things you do have. Take a lesson.

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