A special visitor came from far away to visit the children of Attleboro. He had a broad face, rosey cheeks and a little round belly. Who was the visitor? It was Santa Claus! That's right. Santa took a break from working with his elves to visit Attleboro and help Mayor Kevin Dumas light the Christmas tree at Capron Park and find out what Attleboro children wanted for Christmas.
One by one children old and young took their turn on Santa's lap. Counting down from five the crowd cheered after Santa and Dumas flipped the switch on the Attleboro Christmas tree.
While Santa's elves were much too busy making toys and filling holiday wishes, other helpers in the community provided a helping hand including Ed Liston of Liston Landscaping who took kids on a hayride and City Slickers 4-H in South Attleboro who dressed their horses Penny, Red, Rumraisin and Boo-Boo in holiday gear and provided horse and pony rides.
There was plenty of acts of kindness from those in the holiday spirit including Representatives Betty Poirier (R-North Attleboro) and George Ross and (R-Attleboro) who donated cookies and hot coffee for visitors and local restaurants including Papa Ginos, Briggs Pizzeria, Dominos, DiMarco's and Park Street Pizza who donated hot pizza.
"Usually it comes out of the city budget, so I said we'll save them some money," Rep. George Ross said of he and Poirier.
While there were plenty of helpers, there weren't as many visitors as there have been in previous years. That, according to organizers, was because of the cancelled Holiday Parade which helps to draw a bigger crowd to the lighting.
The parade was cancelled because of lack of interest from people who typically walk in the parade, according to Parks and Forestry Superintendent Sonny Almeida.
"I was kind of looking forward to it," said Deb Bickford, leader of Girl Scout Troop 873 who was helping her daughter Elizabeth Bickford, 11, hang ornaments made by Daisy Troop 964 hang ornaments on the tree.
"Everybody practices all year long to sing the "We are the Girls Scouts, the Mighty, Mighty Girl Scouts," she added.
Almeida promised the crowd a bigger and better event next year. How? He plans to bring together a committee of planners from the city, his department and the community, he said. Almeida said he planned to tap the City's Veteran Affairs Director Carl Bradshaw and Parks and Recreation Superintendent Dennis Walsh to help.
"Citizens need to give us their ideas," Almeida said. "I guarantee it won't be like this next year."