Hun­dreds gather in Crown Point to see Santa ar­rive

Post Tribune (Sunday) - - News - By Rob Earn­shaw Post-Tri­bune Rob Earn­shaw is a free­lance re­porter for the Post-Tri­bune.

A decades-long hol­i­day tra­di­tion con­tin­ued in Crown Point Sat­ur­day when Santa Claus was flown in on a Lake County Sher­iff ’s De­part­ment he­li­copter to kick off the city’s Christ­mas sea­son.

Af­ter land­ing at Pointe Plaza, where they were greeted by a few hun­dred peo­ple, Santa, joined by Mrs. Claus, hopped on a firetruck for a ride down Main Street to the down­town square, where hun­dreds more awaited their ar­rival.

Be­fore Santa and Mrs. Claus made their way in­side the his­toric court­house for pho­tos with chil­dren, the cou­ple was greeted on the build­ing’s steps by Mayor David Uran, who read a res­o­lu­tion sup­port­ing Small Busi­ness Sat­ur­day.

“We are anx­ious to see the lit­tle kids,” Santa Claus said.

Uran said hav­ing Santa ar­rive via he­li­copter and pa­raded down Main Street is a city tra­di­tion they would like to carry on.

“We are a fam­ily com­mu­nity, and this is where a lot of peo­ple stake their flag and want to raise their fam­i­lies,” Uran said. “We want to honor those tra­di­tions that help with those fam­ily val­ues.”

Fire Chief Dave Crane said the de­part­ment is happy to es­cort Santa be­cause the hol­i­day sea­son is about the kids.

“If we can start it off on a pos­i­tive note, that is what we are af­ter,” he said.

The fes­tiv­i­ties in­cluded Christ­mas car­ols sung by lo­cal choirs in­clud­ing the S o u t h l a k e C h i l d r e n ’s Choir, whose mem­ber Am­ber Mann, 13, said she was es­pe­cially ex­cited to see Mrs. Claus and to sing for the fam­i­lies.

“I like spread­ing joy and Christ­mas cheer ev­ery­where,” Am­ber said.

Fel­low choir mem­ber Annabelle Moke, 13, said she saw Santa there two years ago and “it will be fun to see him again.”

More than 30 ven­dors were set up for the city’s an­nual Win­ter Mar­ket. Tony Schifino, of A.J. Spe­cial­ties, said they al­ways get a good turnout.

“Peo­ple come from all over,” he said.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be sta­tioned from noon to 4 p.m. each Sat­ur­day and Sun­day through Christ­mas.

Crown Point Coun­cil­man An­drew Kyres said Santa’s an­nual ar­rival at Pointe Plaza has been a beau­ti­ful Christ­mas tra­di­tion since be­fore he moved there 30 years ago.

“Our res­i­dents and vis­i­tors al­ways en­joy the ca­ma­raderie, fel­low­ship and fun that Santa and his helpers bring on this day,” he said.

SUZANNE TEN­NANT/POST-TRI­BUNE PHO­TOS

Santa Claus greets his fans as he ar­rives at the Crown Point Court­house on Sat­ur­day.

Lulu Wagnon, 3, and her aunt, Karine Huis, look for Santa Claus be­fore his ar­rival.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ar­rive at the Crown Point Court­house on Sat­ur­day.

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