Santa makes grand entrancePublished 7:44pm Sunday, November 20, 2011
Best known for silently slipping down a chimney in the middle of the night, Santa Claus was all but subtle as he made his annual early arrival in Niles Saturday morning.
Jolly old St. Nicholas appears to have traded in his reindeer for a ride in a Niles fire truck.
It was all the same to the hundreds of children and parents who lined up early at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater in Niles. Kids of all ages pointed and cheered as the fire truck declared Santa’s arrival with sirens blaring.
Once Santa settled into his chair, the seemingly never-ending stream of children took a seat on his lap and declared what they wanted for Christmas.
“I want a toy car and a helicopter and a police car and a boat… oh, and a tow truck,” said 3-year-old Lucas Milligan, of South Bend.
Another child, 4-year-old Tristan Bower, of Niles, asked for a “choo-choo train.”
Children weren’t the only ones wanting something for Christmas. Halley Scott, 7, of Niles, brought her dog, Jewel, to see the big guy.
“Jewel wants some treats,” Scott said.
Besides a little one-on-one time with the big guy, children were given a candy cane and coloring book free of charge. Volunteers from the Niles High School Key Club handed out hot chocolate, coffee and donuts.
Niles has held Santa’s arrival for the past 28 years.
The Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce donated the 1,000 candy canes, while Tom Rasler Insurance provided the 1,400 coloring books.
Martin’s Super Market submitted the food.