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Santa Claus visit rouses excitement of local children

ROUSES POINT Rudolph, watch out Santas got a new ride, complete with flashing red lights, sirens and even a few first responders ready to pitch in in case Santa gets into a tight spot. Santa made a grand entrance at the village's annual Christmas Parade of Toys Dec. 7, thanks to help from the Rouses Point Volunteer Fire Department. Event organizer and village clerk Carol Hanfield expressed relief as she watched the large crowd of caroling children and parents parade down Lake Street to the village offices for hot chocolate, cookies and best of all a chance to visit with Santa Claus. Its all dependent on the weather, she said. Last year, we had rain and barely 20 people showed up. However, this years calm and clear December night proved to be perfect, as evidenced by this years turnout. Nearly every village department joined together to prepare for the event. The electric department decorated the street lights with shimmering ornaments. Water plant operator Gary Molinski led his crew in illuminating the Peg Huchro Memorial Gazebo and adjacent Christmas tree. Village trustees Kelly Penfield and Brian Jefferson were on hand to pass out cookies to the hungry revelers. And, of course, the fire department provided Santas sleigh for the evening. Even the local Price Chopper pitched in, donating cups, napkins and discounted cookies for the celebration. According to Ms. Hanfield, the event has been an important village tradition since the 1980s. It really helps bring the community together, she explained. Many of the children also agreed it was an important event, although for different reasons. Clearly, Santa had something to do with their motives, for they had important matters to discuss. Siblings Natalie and Nicholas Rowe claimed to have been very good this year. Natalie was hoping to talk to Santa about the latest Trace Adkins CD, while Nicholas was eager to explain to Santa about "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive" toys. In the end, the children left confident Santa would fill their requests. And Santa? He was pleased to see the community turn out in such strength. Its all for the children, he said. They believe in Santa Claus.

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