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Sherri Richards, Published December 06 2009

Santa sighted in Fargo: Holiday events help area get in the Christmas spirit

It’s not just Santa’s reindeer that can fly. Santa himself flew a helicopter into the Fargo Air Museum Saturday.

This is the third year the museum has held the Santa event, and it was just one of several holiday-themed celebrations featuring Santa that were held Saturday, the first snow-covered weekend of the season.

Besides the touchdown at the air museum, he visited with kids at the West Fargo Library and at his Fargo home, Santa Village at Rheault Farms. Santa Joe Bennett and his wife, Cory, held their annual Christmas party for kids at Gio’s in Moorhead.

Kris Kringle was also at Bonanzaville for the Christmas on the Prairie event. Demonstrators made old-time crafts, carolers sang and Clydesdales gave wagon rides.

The event is meant to bring back the nostalgic feeling of Christmas, said Alison Voss, assistant director of Bonanzaville.

She said it’s “grandparents showing the grandkids what it was like and remembering those Christmases of the past.”

There were also a few Santa wannabes in the seventh annual Jingle Bell Run at Courts Plus in south Fargo. The 5-kilometer race raised more than $36,000 for the Arthritis Foundation, said Denise Mathern, community development coordinator for the foundation.

Mathern said 615 runners took part, and many were festooned in holiday gear. The best costume prize went to the Grinch.

“We had some people dressed up in big boxes,” Mathern said. “They actually ran in wrapped boxes.”

The Fargo Air Museum was also decked out for the holidays, with trees, giant ornaments and classic Christmas songs playing.

Outside the hangar, more than three dozen people gathered at noon to watch Santa land the helicopter. Kids started yelling “Santa’s coming!” as soon as they heard the machine’s blades whir.

Santa waved from the cockpit, and the children waved back. As he approached the ground, the blades caused a snow flurry on the ground.

“Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas, everyone,” he called after he climbed out of the helicopter. “C’mon in.”

Inside, surrounded by vintage airplanes, the kids lined up to tell Santa what they wanted.

Carter Iverson, 4, asked for the Fairchild PT-19A, parked right behind Santa. His cousin, 4-year-old Logan Askin, requested the F4U Corsair, a giant Navy aircraft. Santa suggested model planes to start.

James Iverson of Moorhead brought Carter, his son, and Logan, his nephew, to the museum Saturday. He had no idea Santa would be landing there.

“It was kind of a neat thing for them to see,” he said.

If you go

Santa will fly into the Fargo Air Museum again Saturday. Other holiday-themed events coming up include:

  • Lindenwood Park Lights are on display through Dec. 31. (701) 318-4747.

  • The Victorian-era Comstock House in Moorhead is offering treats and tours from 1 to 4 p.m. today. (218) 291-4211.

  • You can help Trim the Tree at the Library. Events will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at the Northport branch, 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Carlson branch and 5 p.m. Thursday at the main library.

  • Holly Jolly Zoo Days, including holiday activities and Santa visits, will be Saturday and Dec. 13 and Dec. 19-20 at the Red River Zoo. (701) 277-9240.

  • St. Nick takes up residence at Santa Village at Rheault Farms today, Wednesday through Dec. 13 and Dec. 16-23. The address is 2902 25th St. S., Fargo. Visit www.fargoparks.com for hours. (701) 241-8160.

    Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556