For most of the past 11 years, I’ve been the official town crier at the Country Village Shopping Center in Bothell. What that means is that the first Saturday in December, I show up around 6, put on a cape, top hat and scarf, grab my official bell and scroll and then walk around the shopping center for an hour, saying “Here ye, here ye! Santa Claus arrives at 7 o’clock”.
Then at 7, I go up on stage to an anxious crowd and get the on-stage choir to belt out “Here comes Santa Claus” as Santa rides a lighted sleigh in across a wire. He comes up on stage, does a countdown to light the official Christmas tree and then hands out candy canes to all the kids.
Sounds like a simple formula, but every year, there’s always some kind of new adventure.
Two years ago, 7pm arrived and security informed me that someone had parked in a spot that blocked Santa’s sleigh from arriving. After stalling for 25 minutes and leading the crowd in a “Tow that car! Tow that car!” cheer, the Tow truck finally came and Santa’s way was cleared.
Last year, a sentimental Santa announced that he was retiring. I don’t think the kids quite got that the guy who played Santa was giving it up. They all probably thought Santa was hanging it up after this year and no more toys.
Then, this year, Santa got his cue, but as we continued to sing….no sleigh. Finally, I saw a sleigh that came about mid-way and stopped. I kept asking, “Does anybody see Santa?” and most of the kids replied, “Well, yeah, he’s right up there!”
After a while, I watched as Santa’s sleigh started slowly going backwards in the sky…then, he must have got a running start and finally got it to land in the right spot.
The adventures continue, but it always ends up that on a very special night in Bothell, hundreds of kids got to see the real Santa ride in on his sleigh and they’ve got the sticky cane cane fingers to prove it.
Merry Christmas to all….