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Santa Claus comes to town! … at least in Bristol

Hayley Richardson, age seven, and her brother Zeke, age 10, of Alexandria, were first in line at the Tapply Thompson Community Center to as Santa to grant their Christmas wishes. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
November 30, 2011
BRISTOL—Ready or not, here he comes!

Chasing the turkeys out of town, Santa made his seasonal debut in Bristol on Black Friday — the night after Thanksgiving — as he always does without fail, making quite an entrance atop the shiny red Ladder One, just in time to light the Christmas Tree in Central Square.

It was the first of many regularly scheduled appearances in our region during the holiday season, on a whirlwind tour befitting a Presidential Primary candidate, featuring the traditional sled ride into Waterville Square this past weekend, and another ride atop a fire engine this upcoming Saturday night, Dec. 3, for the finale of the Plymouth Holiday Hometown Parade.

Fortunately for everyone, Santa disavows any intention to run for political office, despite his well known proclivity to kiss babies with the best of them. At this point in the proceedings, he would probably be elected in a landslide. But, as is perhaps best, he is focusing his time and attention on granting the wishes of the multitudes, young and old.

The season got off to a grand start in Bristol last Friday night, with a large crowd to welcome the merry man to town just in time for the tree lighting ceremony in downtown Central Square. The annual event was presided over by Bristol's own hometown merry man, John Bianci, who served as the most jovial of hosts. The Lions were serving up free hot chocolate and hot dogs in the square for the gathered crowd, and the good folks at Gina's were also offering sidewalk hospitality for the revelers.

Santa rode into town in style atop the shiny red Ladder One, as impressive a mount as any team of reindeer and sleigh. This year, the handsome new truck was decked out for the festive occasion by the spirited crew of Bristol's Fire and Rescue Department, who hung colored lights along the ladder and hoisted a reindeer up onto the roof.

After the ceremonies in the square, Santa retired to the warmth of the Tapply Thompson Community Center, and took his seat of honor amidst hundreds of eagerly waiting tots and toddlers who told him their Christmas wishes and were rewarded with a Peppermint candy cane.

If you missed Santa's first visit, don't worry. Santa will be back! The fun continues in Bristol in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for the ever-popular Santa's Village, in which the upper floor of the Tapply Thompson Community Center is transformed into a magical seasonal workshop, complete with elves putting the finishing touches on the toys that will end up under the tree, baking cookies and making candy, while a tiny toy polar express train makes its way through a landscape of miniature mountains and a snow covered, New England village. Moms and pops can shop while the kids visit with Santa at the annual holiday crafts fair as well. Santa's Village and Craft Fair will be open on Friday, Dec. 9, from 6 – 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11 from 2 until 5 p.m. Don't miss it!

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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