By Terry Rogers
Santa made his arrival in Downtown Milford, riding atop a Carlisle Fire Company engine as children waited in line for their turn to tell him what was on their Christmas list. The arrival of Santa coincided with Small Business Saturday, an event designed to encourage shoppers to frequent small businesses as part of their holiday shopping.
Standing at the head of the line waiting their turn for Santa were Jaden, Austin, Samantha, Aiden, Gavin and Logan who all had their own ideas for what they wanted to ask Santa to bring. Jaden had a lengthy list, saying he was asking Santa for new military men, an iPod and a bike.
“Don’t tell my mom, but I think I am going to ask him for a mini-bike, too,” Jaden said. Austin was going to ask Santa for Nerf gun and new shoes while Samantha wanted a purple Barbie dream house. Logan wanted a tractor, Gavin wanted a soccer ball while Aiden was going to ask for Paw Pals, trains and a kitchen set. Their parents, who were standing with them in line, said they had arrived by 10 AM in order to be first in line for Santa who was scheduled to arrive at 11 AM.
“Don’t tell anyone our secret, though,” one of the mother’s laughed. “We do this every year and we are always the first ones in line.” Further back in line was Bria, who was going to ask Santa for a Barbie and Trey who wanted Santa to bring him a car.
Many of those who were in line for Santa were also taking advantage of deals at downtown merchants during Small Business Saturday. Randall and Jane Warnick had done some shopping before walking to the Santa house with their sons, Cory and Shannon, their wives, Betsy and Sarah and their grandson, Emory. They displayed several shopping bags as they headed down Walnut Street for Emory to sit on Santa’s lap.
Downtown Milford Inc. held a Scavenger Hunt throughout the event, requiring participants to identify a shop from a clue and then have the clue identification signed off by the shop owner. “We loved the addition of the scavenger hunt,” said Patti Persia. “It was lots of fun and got the kids involved in shopping small. We did some shopping for Christmas gifts, watched Santa arrive and enjoyed the beautiful weather. This is a tradition for us as a family to support small businesses, especially in our own town.”
Lee Nelson, Executive Director of Downtown Milford Inc., said that there was enthusiastic response to the Scavenger Hunt. Benjamin Kittle’s name was drawn on Monday, November 30 as the winner of the hunt. Benjamin won a bag of goodies from Downtown Milford, Inc. and a gift certificate from Petite Sweets.
“Many people reported back to us about how much fun they had,” Mr. Nelson said. “There was also considerable comment on which establishment they liked best.”
Many downtown merchants offered specials throughout the day and most of them saw significant traffic, especially as parents waited for the time to see Santa. Dolce Bakery and Coffee Shop had lines out the door as patrons stopped to get coffee and baked goods before heading to stand in line for Santa, which was fairly long by 10:45 AM.
“Small Business Saturday was a big success for Irish Rose,” said Eugenia Sparks. “Sales were up significantly from last year. I was pleased with the number of people who came to Milford to support the small businesses.”