Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

By Autumn Todd and Aly Doty

Walking down the bricks of Main Street, you smell the sweet scent of peppermint and hot cocoa. It is frigidly cold in the air, yet there are multiple people outside to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus. This is all part of Main Street’s annual Christmas traditions.

“One day around 41 years ago, some merchants got together and decided they wanted to attract new visitors to Main Street, so they started decorating the lampposts with these pretty red ribbons and having people dress up as Christmas characters, and the traditions have continued ever since,” special events producer Karen Godfrey said.

Main Street has around 80 part-time workers that they hire to entertain the guests. A portion of these workers are people hired to play different characters, one of the things Main Street is most known for during the holidays. Characters carry collector cards: trading cards that visitors can receive from  each individual character. The card contains a picture of the character and information on their history.

This year, Main Street has added new characters, such as the Krampus, the Belsnickel and the Mouse King. These characters can be found on Wednesday evenings from 7:30-8 p.m. at North Main Street. Visitors can get limited-edition collector cards from each of these characters.

“Each character has a collector card and each visitor can search for all the characters to get all the cards,” Godfrey said. “It’s like a really cool scavenger hunt.”

Every Saturday and Sunday during the festival, starting at 1:30 p.m., Main Street holds one of their most popular attractions: the annual Santa Parade at Frontier Park. This parade includes pageantry, Christmas carolers and international Santas. Main Street hires people to dress up and play different Santas from around the world. During the finale of the festival, each Santa carries the flag of their native land.

“I think the idea of having different Santas from around the world is really interesting and different than most Christmas festivities,” sophomore Drew Struckhoff said.

Main Street began their holiday traditions on Nov. 27. The festivities began at 11 a.m. with their annual opening ceremony where Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a variety of holiday characters arrived by a horse-drawn carriage at Kister Park. On Dec. 24, Main Street will be ending their annual holiday traditions with a closing ceremony that will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Frontier Park. At the ceremony, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus board their carriage to head back to the North Pole in preparation for the holidays.

“I like that it’s just a happy and memorable time for families,” Godfrey said. “It helps create new family traditions for the holidays.”