The Christmas season is officially underway in Seymour.
On Monday night, hundreds of children and adults crowded downtown for the annual One Chamber Christmas celebration, which is organized by the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce.
The highlight of the event for many was the arrival of Santa Claus, who rolled into town on a Seymour firetruck, accompanied by Mayor Craig Luedeman.
A line of youngsters — and parents — waiting to visit with Santa to reveal Christmas wishlists formed long before he arrived.
First in line was 9-year-old Macy Casner and her dad, Monty Casner, both of Seymour. To secure their spots, the pair arrived around 5 p.m. Although they had to stand in place for an hour and 15 minutes, it was well worth it, Macy said.
“The last four years, we’ve been in the back. So this year, I wanted to be first,” she said.”
“We’ve been here every year,” Monty Casner added. “It’s something we love to do.”
The best part was his daughter’s reaction, he said.
“That big smile on her face when she sees Santa is by far the main reason we come,” he said.
But the two also enjoyed listening to Christmas music sung by students from St. Ambrose Catholic School and Seymour High School. Students from STEPS Dance Center in Seymour performed a holiday dance routine, and the Christmas angel herself, Deb Bedwell, executive director of Anchor House Family Assistance Center, read “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Another big attraction was Jingle John the elf and his gang from Silly Safaris Reindeer Reserve. They brought along two reindeer, Noel and Hermie, for people to pet, and an owl named Hooligan.
Lisa and Marvin Edwards of Seymour said they enjoy attending the event with their kids, Cameron, 7, and Scarlett, 6.
“It gives us something to do, and they like to see Santa and the reindeer,” Lisa Edwards said.
Scarlett also appreciated the doughnuts, hot chocolate and candy canes available from vendors, including sponsor JCB.
Cameron said he had a few things he planned to ask Santa to bring him for Christmas, including a Mecanno robot, a PS4 and possibly a shotgun.
Scarlett said she really wanted a Disney “Frozen” dollhouse.
The festivities were enough to put everyone in the holiday spirit.
“It’s great to see the community come together for something positive,” Monty Casner said. “All you ever hear about is all of the bad going on in the world, police shootings, bombings, terrorist attacks; we need to focus on the good things.”
“I think it’s great that so many people are here to support our city, and everyone is excited about Christmas,” Macy added.
Not only did she get to tell Santa what she wanted — a secret she wouldn’t reveal to anyone else — she also persuaded her dad to take a selfie of them on either side of Santa.
But before settling down in his house to receive the children in line, Santa first had a very important task to complete — lighting the downtown Christmas tree.
With the crowd counting down from 10, Santa, with some help from 4-year-old Arabella Smith of Seymour, flipped the switch, turning on the colored lights to much cheers and applause.
This year’s tree, donated by Doug Ray and his family, was decorated with snowmen ornaments made of recycled plastic bottles. The ornaments were created by children at the Department of Public Works booth during Seymour Oktoberfest.
DPW set up again Monday night in the Seymour Community Center for families to make ornaments to take home.
Cameron Edwards said he was able to find the snowman ornament he made on the tree. But his sister’s was placed too high up to see.
Amy Hart of Seymour said One Chamber Christmas is a tradition for her boys, Ethan, 7, Noah, 5, and Aiden, 2.
“They love everything about it, so we come every year,” she said. “It puts us all in a good mood, and I love to see them so excited.”
Santa’s House hours
Santa will be available the following hours for pictures at One Chamber Square at Chestnut and St. Louis streets in downtown Seymour:
Friday: 5 to 7 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday: 1 to 4 p.m.
Dec. 11: 5 to 7 p.m.
Dec. 12: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dec. 13: 1 to 4 p.m.
Dec. 18: 5 to 7 p.m.
Dec. 19: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dec. 20: 1 to 4 p.m.
Dec. 21: 5 to 7 p.m.