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Santa attracts a big crowd
ARLINGTON Santa Claus was welcomed to town by a large crowd gathered at City Hall Saturday, waiting for Mark Winterhalter and his two Belgian draft horses, Sugar and Spice, to deliver the main feature of Arlingtons Santa Parade. Santa was delivered to City Hall about 12:30 p.m. and commenced entertaining wishes from a line of children which continued until 4 p.m.
It was almost 4 p.m. when the line was finally done, said Santas helper, Christy Brubaker, a city employee who has helped coordinate the Santa Parade for many years.
The turnout for the parade wasnt as large as it has been in the past, but the weather was fantastic, Brubaker said.
Indeed, the sun shined brightly on the arrival of Santa Claus, with a scenic backdrop of snow-covered hills in the distance, remnants from last weeks snowstorm.
The crowd waiting outside the City Council Chambers to see Santa was entertained with Christmas carols and hot chocolate presented by Lifeway Church. The lighted tree on the plaza was donated by the Outback Christmas Tree Farm.
Starting at noon, the parade included several community groups like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, the American Cancer Societys Relay for Life Team, as well as several drill teams from Everett and a school bus with a group of students from Arlington High School collecting food for the DECAs Santa Helpers program, which is assembling complete holiday baskets for families in need.
School bus driver Randy Tendering drove the bus while 13 AHS students swarmed the streets gathering canned food donations and giving away Arlington High School water bottles and gold Arlington Eagle cups.
Im glad I brought my CD, cause the parade really needed some Christmas tunes, Tendering said, adding he thought of it at the last minute. His grandchildren, Leah Youngquist, 9, and David Youngquist, 11, also helped gathering food on the bus.
Well, we didnt fill the whole bus, but we did fill Doug Pluckers car and people kept giving us money all afternoon, Tendering said, noting that there were two seniors, two freshman and eight sophomores helping collect food. Not one junior showed up, he pointed out.
Activities Director Plucker said they gathered 276 food items and $17.76 in cash.
The high schools food drive has a goal of 1,600 items to be collected this week, Plucker said, adding the collection of the parade will help in that goal. He added that the Santa Helpers are assembling packages including food and gifts for 40 families.
Down the street from City Hall, at Evonnes antique store, folks stocked up on Christmas treats at a bake sale coordinated by the Downtown Arlington Merchants to benefit the gazebo fund. The city of Arlington has announced it will go ahead and build the gazebo next spring, in conjunction with the reconstruction of Legion Park, and downtown merchant, Carla Lowe, has donated a weather vane with an eagle and a salmon for the top of the gazebo. The weather vane is on display at her restaurant, Little Italy Delicatessen, 318 N. Olympic Ave., in downtown Arlington.
Another fundraiser for the gazebo, the Arlington events T-shirt raffle quilt was won by a man named Gilbert, who hadnt responded to his call yet at press time Monday. The raffle quilt, with ticket sales at downtown events since last summer, raised another $350 for the gazebo fund.