Nothing keeps Santa Claus from sharing Christmas spirit.
He never would have dreamed of missing Springfield Township's Christmas tree lighting and – thanks to the Springfield Police Department – he didn't have to.
Santa's plans to attend the annual tree lighting festival were temporarily thwarted when the fire truck that was scheduled to pick him up at the North Pole was called out. Township police came to the rescue and made sure Santa arrived on time to light the tree in the Vince Mealy Bicentennial Gazebo with a wave of his hand.
Nobody seemed to mind waiting for Santa's arrival as the evening was filled with Christmas magic. Snowflakes fell and blanketed the ground and Christmas spirit filled the cold December air. A Christmas community choir made up of various church choir members sang Christmas Carols and Cub Scout troop 3036 sang a few songs as community members waited for Santa's arrival.
After the tree lighting, more than 200 people warmed up in the fire department where they enjoyed hot dogs, hot cocoa and cookies with Santa. Children took every advantage of the time spent with the jolly red-suited man as they rattled off their Christmas wishes while visiting with him one-on-one.
It was interesting to find that once again Santa checked his naughty list twice and found no little children from the township on it.
The magic of the Christmas season grew even more this year in Springfield. For the first time the lakefront was also lit with a large light display. The display was recently purchased by the township and Parks and Recreation and Director Doug Foltz said the future looks bright for "Holiday Lights on the Lake."
"I think it will be a special attraction for the future," Foltz said, noting he expects even more displays in the coming years.
Public comments have been favorable and donations to help support the event are coming in from businesses and families.
"It is just going to grow," said Foltz who has had a lot of experience in animated light displays and looks forward to growing the display in the future.
Police officers have been noticing the increased traffic on Canfield Road visiting the display.
It was a night of special appearances Nov. 30 when more than 150 villagers gathered to celebrate the lighting of the Lakemore Christmas Tree.
The always "on key" Spartanaires from Springfield High School sang Christmas Carols while the more than 150 village residents gathered. "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Joy to the World," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Deck the Halls" resonated throughout the community before Santa Claus arrived by fire truck.
Mrs. Claus was busy at the North Pole and was unable to accompany Santa, but the guy in the red suit brought Frosty the Snowman along with him to help light the community's holiday tree.
Page 2 of 2 - Santa and Frosty rode around the community in the fire truck for an hour to visit children before arriving at the Municipal Building. Upon arrival the cheers were heard and the countdown began. When the time was just right, Santa waved his magical hands and in an instant the tree was covered in brilliant lights.
Once the star on top of the tree shone brightly Mayor Rick Justice directed everyone into the building for refreshments and a chat with Santa. Parents took pictures of their children with Santa. He checked not once, but twice and found every Lakemore child was on the nice list.
Councilwoman Anne Snyder said it was a wonderful evening for the families of Lakemore