September 17, 2014

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HAPPY RETURNS: Santa visits Vermilion, Lorain

Santa Claus was equipped for the recent cold snap, arriving by icebreaker Saturday for the Christmas in Harbortown celebration in Vermilion.

A few hours later, Santa switched from boat to sleigh as he moved eastward for the Light Up Lorain Parade.

The sleigh— pulled by a white horse — was equipped with tiny wheels to make up for the lack of snow.

Welcoming Jolly Ol’ Nick was a delight for young and old.

“We go every year,” said Rebecca Andras, who watched the arrival of Santa in Vermilion.

Her daughter, Gabrielle, 6, and three nieces were among the hundreds of children who rang tiny bells.

Then the youngsters entered Santa’s house to deliver their wish lists, while proud parents took photos from a side window.

Santa and his elves will be in his house again in Vermilion’s Exchange Park at U.S. Route 6 and state Route 60 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 1, 8, and 15.

The involvement of Lake Erie and the Vermilion River in festivities is a holiday tradition that dates back decades.

“We’re a historic river and nautical community,” said Diane Chesnut, executive director of the Friends of Harbour Town 1837. “Santa arrives by boat and children love seeing him come down the river.”

In Lorain, fireworks were the big draw — in addition to seeing Santa in the parade.

“I liked the pink fireworks,” said Braylon Johnson, 6, while his brother, Gavin Zsigray, 10, liked the blue fireworks. Braylon wants Santa to bring him a motorized car he can ride in, while his big brother wants a computer tablet for Christmas.

The fireworks also were the big attraction for the family of Army Sgt. Zac Callahan, who returned from Afghanistan several months ago for the birth of his daughter, Zoe.

Callahan and his wife, Monica, were thrilled that tiny Zoe — just 10 weeks old — was able to see the pretty colors dancing in the sky.

“I was surprised the fireworks didn’t scare her,” Monica Callahan said.Zac Callahan said coming home for the birth of his daughter was the best present he could receive this year.

“I was part of President Obama’s drawdown — they sent me home along with 19 others from my unit,” he said.

In Vermilion, massive draft horses pulled the Annual Grospitch Christmas Trolley through the historic district on Saturday.

The horse-drawn trolley will be back  1 p.m. to 5 p.m. today to give narrated rides through historic downtown Vermilion.

Also today at 12:30 p.m., Riddle Funeral Home invites the community to help decorate the 13th Annual “Tree of Remembrance” in Victory Park at Ohio and Main streets in Vermilion.

People are invited to bring a weatherproof ornament to honor a loved one and there will be reflection, prayer, holiday music, hot drinks and cookies.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.