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Santa comes to Langton

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The Langton Lions have been spear-heading the Santa Claus parade in Langton for more than a generation.

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“Since the 1950s or early 60s,” said Langton Lions Club’s Frank Vanleuvenhage, noting the Lions Club started in Langton about 1953. “Always the same route. We just go down and around, up and back and over. We do it all the same.”

“We done this for quite a few years,” Vanleuvenhage smiled.

“We advertise it ahead of time to make sure they (students from Langton Public School and Sacred Heart Catholic School) all know to be here on Saturday – it’s usually the second Saturday of December.”

One thing that has changed over the years, he said, is how Santa rides in the parade.

“I remember when the Lions started this, back in the day, Santa was on a fire truck. That’s all they had back then. Now we’ve got a truck, all the reindeer, all decked out.”

Al Ross volunteered to be the Santa Claus on Saturday, but ‘Mrs. Claus’ was unable to attend.

“His wife, Wanda, is sick today,” said Vanleuvenhage.

The Langton Lions Club, who sponsor and decorate the Santa Claus float, also have their own retired priming machine float near the front of the parade, and they supply the goodie bags to children visiting with Santa after the parade in the Langton Community Centre.

“Look at that,” said Lion Frank DeDobbelaer PDG (Past District Governor), showing Vanleuvenhage a nearly-empty box of goodies – the last of their treats.

DeDobbelaer, who played the role of Santa’s elf, said they started with 350 goodie bags.

“Just a few left,” he said, noting the number of children seeing Santa was up this year. “This was larger, definitely larger. The nice weather, snow on the ground – everybody’s in the mood.”

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“I think the parade was excellent today,” nodded Vanleuvenhage. “We had good attendance – it was quite good. Being a nice day, a lot of people said ‘Yeah, looks like Saturday’s going to be a real nice day, we’re going to put a float in!’ So they always deck one out real quick. If it’s a rainy, blustery day… they say ‘nah.'”

The best part of the morning, said DeDobbelaer, was seeing the smiling faces when children visited Santa.

“That’s what it’s all about. These little kids are so excited. The parade is nice, and nice for all the businesses to partake, but when you see these kids come up here… I wish I was young again,” he added with a laugh.

Born in 1944, DeDobbelaer might have been one of the kids lining up to see Santa ‘back in the day’ or watching the parade from the sidewalks.

“I don’t remember that,” he admitted. “But I’m sure I was here!”

Langton Lions

The Langton Lions Club, which has about 22 active members, is seeking new members.

“Our doors are always open for new members,” said DeDobbelaer.

“For sure,” said Vanleuvenhage. “We do need new members.”

“At one time, in the heyday of tobacco, we had 75 members… and a waiting list,” said DeDobbelaer. “Seventy-five members!”

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