Havre de Grace's Christmas parade was rained out Friday, but city residents braved the cold Saturday evening to see the city's downtown Christmas tree lit and, most importantly, for the children present, visit Santa Claus.
"Welcome to our beautiful city!" Mayor Wayne Dougherty told Santa and Mrs. Claus as they prepared to light the tree at St. John and Washington streets.
Once the brightly-colored lights came on, Santa and Mrs. Claus proceeded up Washington Street – which police officers had closed for foot traffic – to Santaland, where children sat on Santa's lap and told him what they wanted for Christmas.
Santa was followed by a gaggle of excited children up Washington Street. The trees on each side were strung with lights, and downtown businesses were open for holiday visitors to the city.
Children and their parents lined up along Washington Street outside Santaland and waited to see Jolly Old St. Nicholas.
Members of Maryland Faerie Festival group of Darlington, who were dressed as mythical characters, entertained the children as they waited, by blowing bubbles and telling Christmas legends.
One member of the group was dressed as Krampus, a character who is found in Germanic and Austrian holiday mythology.
Krampus, also known as the "dark companion" of Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas, is a horned devil, who carries a switch in his hand and a basket on his back to deal with the children on Santa's naughty list.
"That's where Krampus comes in, because Santa doesn't know what to do with the list of bad little girls and boys," the costumed Krampus said.
He said the devil would punish children with his switch, or "if you've been really bad it's into the back of the basket with you."
The children would be carried away in the basket, and could be transformed into Krampus' minions.
"Maintain the peace, do the right thing, Krampus doesn't have any business with you," he said.
Timothy Corbin, of Havre de Grace, dressed up as Waldo, from the "Where's Waldo" book series. The reader must find Waldo, wearing thick black glasses and a red-and-white striped shirt and cap, in a large crowd of people in the pages.
Waldo, as portrayed by Corbin, could easily be found among the costumed characters entertaining children waiting for Santa Saturday.
Corbin has also appeared in his Waldo costume at city events such as First Fridays and the Graw Days Festival.
"In the books he can be anywhere he wants, so I thought, 'Why can't I?' " Corbin said.
Natasha and Jermaine Lowery ,of Havre de Grace, brought their children Azareya, age 7, and Xavier, age 10, for their first visit with Santa.
"It's a good outing," Jermaine Lowery said. "Everybody gets to come out and appreciate Santa."
He and his wife appreciated the Christmas decorations downtown.
"They really have it festive down here," Natasha Lowery said. "I really like it."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun