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Santa arrives in Port Burwell

It included students from Port Burwell Public School, local businesses, firefighters, service clubs, Scouts, festivals, council members, trail riders, and the man in the red-and-white suit.

People gathered on Wellington Street and around the corner on Robinson Street to watch this year's Port Burwell Santa Claus Parade, then lined up on Robinson at the lighthouse to meet Santa. The Christmas tree lights were officially lit, children and youth received a gift from Santa, and everyone was invited inside for hot chocolate, cider and cookies.

It was a long lineup, estimated to be 200-225 children, and one that years ago was even longer said Stan Rushton from the parade organizing committee.

"Oh yeah, we've had them lined up way past Pitt Street," he said, nodding one block north. "And some years we've had 300-400 people. It's dwindled a little. The kids are getting older and the older kids are now having children. Some people go straight home (after the parade), some stay. We'll probably run out of cookies and hot chocolate tonight - but that's good, better than taking it home!"

The tradition began in Port Burwell decades ago.

"We came here 21 years ago," said Rushton, who remembers the Port Burwell Santa Claus Parade going back at least that far. "It was ongoing then, so I'd say it's probably been going 30-40 years."

The cookies and goodies in Santa's decorated 'lighthouse shed' were provided by the local Bayham Historical Society, who collected donations for the event.

"It's quite a feat," said Rushton. "It just makes for a fabulous, festive day."

Christmas goodies, handed out by Santa, were supplied and wrapped by the local Lioness Club.

"They have a nice big table to sort things out and wrap them. It turns out well."

Long Point Lions Club and the Bayham Beachfest Committee also contributed to the parade.

Port Burwell's parade route, from the Legion at 40 Wellington to the lighthouse on Robinson Street, has not changed, although he noted the Straffordville Santa Claus Parade route (Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m.) just changed this year.

"Instead of going from the school to the fire hall, this year we're going from the fire hall to the (renovated) community centre," said Rushton, noting the parade has the same committee organizer. "It'll be the same Santa float, and Mudford's is donating some of the candy. It's going to be a real good Santa Claus parade too." 

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