Santa Comes To Celina

CELINA — This year’s Reindog Parade saw few reindogs, but many excited children waiting in the bitter cold with their families for a glimpse of the big man — Santa Clause.

The parade commenced with a train carrying its chilly passengers to the crowd in front of the Celina courthouse on Main Street on Saturday. This crowd consisted almost entirely of parents pushing strollers or carrying their red-nosed toddlers.

The children cheered when the three lone animal owners marched past, one leading a big St. Bernard, donned in a red sweater and reindeer antlers; one beaming as she held her goat’s leash; and another carrying her small decked-out dog.

When the Celina High School marching band filed down the street, some students wearing only sweatshirts and jeans, a group of kids began to dance to the tunes they were playing — “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” among them.

“I wish I was a reindeer,” Addie Gasher, 6, said, sporting reindeer antlers and waiting patiently for Santa to pass. “I’m going to ask him for a unicorn,” she said.

Her friend, Isabella Mull, 7, said seeing Santa was her main reason for coming to the parade.

Gabe Parker, 4, was not picky as far as his request from Santa.

“(I want) any presents,” he said. “I’ve been a good boy.”

The line to visit Santa’s house was starting to deepen at this point. When Santa’s horse-drawn carriage finally did pass by, the parents excitedly pointed him out to their children, who waved vigorously.

Only those determined to tell Santa their Christmas wish stayed in front of the courthouse after the band members dispersed. The free horse and carriage rides had few takers, but most people retreated indoors.

Celina Kiwanian JT Irmscher was among one of the organizers of Saturday’s event. The pancake breakfast, reindog parade, and Santa visits were sponsored by Kiwanis Club and the Celina Chamber of Commerce.

“We wanted to get kids out and to have some family fun,” Irmscher said. “Along the way we went to Celina businesses for donations.”

The money that did not go toward funding the event went to fund local scholarships.

“This year, money from the parade, local businesses and the pancake breakfast (totaled) over $3,000,” Irmscher said.

The weather, Irmscher said, was a factor in attendance.

“We had a pretty good turnout considering,” he said. “It probably didn’t help that the OSU game is on today.”