DeKALB – Santa Claus ushered in the official start of the holiday season Thursday evening in downtown DeKalb.
The festive evening kicked off with madrigal singers providing joyful holiday carols on the stairs and second floor landing at the Egyptian Theatre. While awaiting Santa’s arrival, visitors also enjoyed cookies and hot cocoa. The event was sponsored by the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce and the National Bank & Trust Company.
“We’re definitely going to see Santa,” said Debe Fullington of Malta. She and her young charges, Sofia Talley, 4, and Tyler Talley, 2, of Sycamore, didn’t learn until they were almost at the theater that they know one of the singers, Jaycee Mattis.
Not too impressed with the music, Sofia had plans to make her own. She was going to ask Santa for a pink and purple striped guitar.
Mike and Allison Franz of DeKalb, have lived in the community for a couple of years, but said this is the first time they joined the festivities surrounding Santa’s arrival. They brought their sons, Logan, 5, and Connor, 3.
Logan said he planned to ask Santa for Skylanders. Mom Allison said they are action figures that go with a video game.
A kindergartner at Brooks Elementary School, Logan gave a thumbs up when asked if he had been a good boy this year.
Allison Franz said this is the first year Connor has seen Santa in person.
“He doesn’t quite grasp the concept yet,” she said. “He just says he’s going to ask for toys.”
Mayor John Rey was on hand to welcome Santa, and said he has fond memories of his sons singing in madrigals.
As 7 p.m. neared, visitors moved toward the doors and gathered on the sidewalk in front of the theater. The holiday spirit was contagious and people danced and sang along with Christmas music played through large speakers just outside the front doors.
Families pressed closer to the street as sirens blared and lights flashed from a block away. Santa arrived in a bright orange city dump truck, already outfitted with its winter snow plow.
Driver Andy Raih had the important task of delivering Santa safely, but missed his chance to ask for something special during the trip.
“I’ll have to remember to do that next year,” Raih said.
Santa led visitors to his house at the corner of Second and Locust streets where the crowd was welcomed by Rey.
“Everyone that’s been good this year, raise your hand,” Santa said. “Everyone that’s been bad raise your hand. Oh, I see two or three.”
He urged everyone to stay and let him know what they want this year for Christmas.
Appearances by Santa
• Discover Sycamore’s Walk with Santa begins at 5:45 p.m. today. Meet Santa as he arrives at the Sycamore State Street Theater, 420 W. State St., and walk with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves through downtown Sycamore to the courthouse lawn where Santa will light the holiday tree. After the tree lighting, Santa will listen to wishes in his house on the courthouse lawn.
• From 5 to 8 p.m. today, the Genoa Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Celebrate the Season event in downtown Genoa. Santa will arrive in the Jingle Bell Parade and light the community tree before visiting with children at his house.