Covering the Land of Lincoln

Santa Claus is coming to town!

Santa officially arrives in Fort Frances this Saturday. The rich history of Santa Claus parades in Fort Frances continues under the development and organization of the Fort Frances Kiwanis Club. Growing up I remember sitting on a float as one of the princes of Good King Wenceslas bundled up for the cold as the parade passed down Scott Street and traveled across the border and passed through International Falls. It marked the arrival of Santa to the border communities. The parade then was organized by the Rotary club of both communities and the float I rode on was created by the Order of the Eastern Star. The Santa Claus Parade and the arrival of Santa marks the official beginning of the Christmas season in almost every community across North America.

The parades have a rich history. The history of Santa Claus Parades goes well back to ancient Roman times when great victories brought parades for the conquering heroes. A major Roman God marked the end of the parade representing the God that protected the soldiers in their war. Peoria Illinois celebrated its 135th edition this year. In larger cities, the parade is often sponsored by a major retailer. Macy’s parade this Thursday is the most recognized Santa Claus Parade and scenes from the 1946 parade made its way into an Oscar-winning movie in 1947.

My grandparents had one of the first televisions in Fort Frances and a I still remember a particular Christmas. I was old enough to begin doubting Santa but watching the original “Miracle on 34th Street” reaffirmed my belief in the tale. Chris Kringle played by Edmund Gwenn. It continues to this date as a favorite Christmas movie.

Today Santa brings up the rear of the parade. As the parade meanders down Scott Street, we all wait in anticipation of Santa’s arrival and the high-pitched excitement of young voices announcing they can see the jolly old elf.

Christmas and Santa bring about a magical time in the lives of young children. I was reminded of that when my three-year-old grand daughter reminded me on the phone last week that when snow arrives, Santa also will arrive. And this past weekend she told us that she had written her letter to Santa and she and her father had dropped it in the mail to go to the north pole. The parade and all its magic in all of us reminds us that we can all be children again even for a brief moment.

Former Publisher
Fort Frances Times

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