HOOPER — Heavy rain didn’t keep Hooper residents from coming out to see Santa arrive last week to greet hundreds of kids and kick off the Christmas season.
With some sipping on hot chocolate, kids and adults alike waited anxiously as they stood in the rain in the yard at Hooper Elementary School.
A crowd of several hundred watched as Santa arrived in a Clydesdale horse-drawn carriage, owned and driven by Councilwoman Annette Fielding.
Santa jumped down from the carriage and, with a flip of the switch, brightly colored lights that lined both sides of the street lit up.
Little kids watched in excitement as he moved into the crowd, greeting everyone and handing out candy canes. His red suit and white beard glistened with rain drops, but that didn’t stop all the kids from gathering around, waiting for their turn to be greeted, and hoping to tell him what they want most for Christmas.
Friends Brek Brinkerhoff and Beau Andrew, both second-graders at the school, said they were having fun and were anxious to see Santa.
In all sincerity, Brek said, “I just hope he doesn’t know that I dunked my sister in the pool this summer.”
Ashlyn Cox, 4, said she thought Santa was beautiful. “I love you Santa,” she said.
While everyone waited for the arrival of Santa, the Hooper Elementary Choir sang Christmas songs, led by choir directors and teachers Sheri Leak and Karla Larsen.
Dancers from the Dance Image Competition Team, led by Lisa Northrup, also performed.
The event was sponsored by the Hooper Women’s Club, which originated in 1932. Spokeswoman Renae Creager said this is the first Santa event that has been held in Hooper since it incorporated in 2001.
“But many years ago, probably starting in the 1950s, the town had a celebration like this for many, many years,” Creager said.
“The town was much smaller back in those days, but everyone came out and really enjoyed and looked forward to it each year. We are hopeful that we can make this an annual event once again.”