It might have been 20 degrees and dark Friday night at around 5:50 p.m., but when Santa and Mrs. Claus came to light the Christmas tree at 6 p.m., excitement, carols, laughs and Christmas cheers filled downtown John Day.
Santa and Mrs. Claus came in the back of a flat bed pickup truck and greeted the children who were happy to see them. Many children told Santa what they wanted for Christmas, and Santa entertained some of the kids by performing a magic trick and finding a coin behind their ears.
“I am glad to see so many people here,” said Sherri Rininger, the owner of downtown business Etc. “This is something that the downtown merchants try to do every year, and it keeps growing.”
Rininger had the opportunity to sing various caroling songs such as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman,” along with the Clauses and children around.
“My favorite part of the event has been the lighting of the tree,” said Mrs. Claus. “I love to see that everybody comes together, and at that very minute when the tree lights up, everyone is focused on that tree and smiling at that minute. This has been so much fun.”
Right as the interview concluded, 3-year-old Cashel Toy came up to Mrs. Claus to say hello. They both began to sing “Jingle Bells” together and, when they were done singing, hugged each other good-bye.
Toy smiled and said it was great being able to sing with Mrs. Claus.
“That made my day,” Mrs. Claus said.
There will be another chance to see the Clauses at either the Christmas bazaar or at the Timbers Truckers Light Parade on Dec. 14.