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SANTA ARRIVES

Taylor Barr, 4, greets Santa shortly after he arrives by Coast Guard boat. (The Pilot/Stacy Nadelman).
Taylor Barr, 4, greets Santa shortly after he arrives by Coast Guard boat. (The Pilot/Stacy Nadelman).

By Stacy Nadelman

Pilot staff writer

Here comes Santa Claus, is what was heard down around the boardwalk Saturday in Harbor.

About 200 children scurried on the port in hopes of meeting the jolly old soul.

"I'm going to ask him for a real Gibson guitar," said one little boy patiently waiting his turn to see Santa.

The first in line was 6-year-old Katherine Sawaya with her two brothers. She wants Barbies this year while her siblings want trucks and Playstation games.

"I just love doing it every year," Santa said in an interview just before taking off in a Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat with his two elves. "It's always enjoyable to have the kids sit on your lap and ask for things."

Saint Nick added that every year the event is spectacular and the Coast Guard and port people are "just fantastic.

"And my elves are just cuter than buttons," he said.

Some children brought gifts for Santa, but mostly they wanted to meet Kris Kringle to let him know that they've been good all year in hopes of receiving that special gift under the tree on Christmas morning.

Laptops, iPods and computerized games were the most requested items.

However, the event wasn't all about Santa.

About 350 People came to see the lighting of the port, which was made possible by the Chetco Village Merchants Association and the Port of Brookings Harbor.

It was also about the community pulling together and helping those in need.

The Harbor Volunteer Firefighters were there collecting toys at the port for a toy drive to benefit local children.

They collected about 100 toys this year for the needy.

"We're really appreciative for the toys that were brought down to the port for our program," said Harbor Fire Chief John Brazil.

Donations of cash and non-perishable food items were also collected for the Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers Food Share program.

They event generated $362 to feed the hungry.

Julie Davis, executive director of the food share program was just in tears, said co-owner of the Book Dock Sharon Pellon. "(Davis) said ‘you have no idea how much food I can buy with that.' "

"It's just fun when the whole community supports something like this," Pellon said. "It just shows the character of the community."

The annual event of Santa arriving at the port started in 1994 when Jo Mochulski, Gail Scriven and two other port businesses brainstormed on how to get people down to the port.

The Book Dock, Slugs ‘N Stones ‘N Ice Cream Cones and Espresso Gallery were the only shops at the port back then.

Sciven was the owner of the Book Dock, Mochulski was the manager of the store when they decided the best time to get people down there was during Christmas.

"We wanted a unique way for Santa to arrive in a coastal town" said Mochulski, who can look very much like Mrs. Claus.

The first year Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived by dingy, a small sailboat provided by Bill Nokes.

By the second year, Mochulski approached the Coast Guard in Harbor and, "They've been doing it ever since – rain or shine," she said.

Although Mrs. Claus now stays home at the North Pole and does not accompany Santa to the port anymore, she sends elves with him to help bring smiles to South Coast children of all ages.

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