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Santa arrives with Sugar & Spice
ARLINGTON — A buzz of excitement rang through the air in Arlington Saturday when Santa Claus was welcomed to town by many kids of all ages. Boy scouts and girl scouts, dancers and kids with their pets were among those who joined the parade to welcome Santa into town.
Following the parade, a line stretched all the way from the gazebo through Legion Park halfway down the 100 block of North Olympic Ave., with kids and their families waiting patiently to visit with Santa.
Nathan William Shaw was with his mom, Jennifer Shaw, and 12 other kids as part of a birthday party.
“They are not all mine,” Shaw said. Her son said he planned to wish Santa a merry Christmas and also that he hoped that Santa’s sleigh would not break down. He said he planned to ask Santa for a “dirt bike thing.”
Nola Smith represents the Downtown Arlington Business Association in working with the city of Arlington in coordinating the event. She recruited singing groups and individuals to add a more festive holiday flavor to the event, with performances at two venues. She booked singing groups for the Merchants Parking Lot as well as for the gazebo where kids waited for up to two hours to meet Santa.
“The business association hires Mark Winterhalter to offer free wagon rides around town on two Saturdays in December,” said Smith, the owner of Pacific Learning Solutions’ School Box bookstore.
“The wagon rides and the singing groups continue next Saturday, too,” she added.
The city of Arlington coordinates the parade and Santa in the gazebo, with Mayor Margaret Larson welcoming the crowd and lighting the Christmas tree, which was planted in Legion Park nearly 10 years ago as one of many fundraisers for the gazebo.
“This is truly one of the highlights of the year in Arlington,” Larson said, while welcoming the crowd and wishing them a wonderful day.
Some attendees are new; many are regulars year after year.
“It’s a great way to kick off the season,” said Brian Berry, a former resident of Arlington who now lives in Stanwood. He brings his wife and two kids every year.
“It’s our tradition to come and see the Santa Parade in Arlington,” Berry said.
Perhaps two of the newest newcomers, 3-month old twins, Kara and Allison Glassman were first in line for a photograph with Santa Claus.
“They are my nieces,” said Cristy Brubaker, who has helped coordinate the Santa Parade for the city for more than 10 years.
Down the street, another long line formed in front of City Hall, where the wagon stopped to exchange passengers.
The buzz continued inside the retail stores where shoppers searched for good deals at 20 percent off due to Super Saturday, at Arlington Hardware Store, Favorite Pastimes, Arlington Pharmacy, Flowers by George, Action Sports, the School Box and other shops in town. The restaurants were all packed, too.