Santa's arrival

Santa arrived in Bryan via a horse-drawn sleigh during last year’s Santa Arrival Parade. The traditional event signals the turning on of the Christmas lights around the square. Times file photo

It’s been a downtown Bryan family holiday tradition for almost six decades.

The Santa Arrival Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, heralding the arrival of Old St. Nick to Bryan and the lighting of the community Christmas tree.

Parade entries are advised to begin lining up at 6 p.m. at the Parkview Physicians Group parking lot, 442 W. High St. At 6:30 p.m., the parade heads east down West High Street to Main Street and the courthouse square.

At about 6:45 p.m., as Santa arrives at the north side of courthouse square, Santa’s elves will push the button to light a live Christmas tree located inside the bandstand on the southwest corner of the square.

“It’s Santa Claus and the Christmas tree and Christmas lights. It’s a Bryan tradition,” said Dan Yahraus, executive director of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce, which is co-sponsoring the event along with The Bryan Times.

Yahraus said the parade is still open to entries, which must be decorated and have lights. Call the chamber office at 419-636-2247 or email to to register. Candy may be passed out but must not be thrown, he added.

Once Santa arrives at the courthouse square, he will take up his traditional spot at Santa’s House on the north side of the square, where the jolly man in red will entertain children until all gift requests have been received.

As a reminder, Santa said he likes to spend ample time with each and every child, so the wait times may require some extra patience.

The courthouse square this year features a host of colorful Christmas figurines underneath strands of Christmas lights strung up over the square, courtesy of Bryan Municipal Utilities. The painted fiberglass figurines and all holiday decorations are made possible through donations to the chamber’s holiday decorating team, which also make touch-ups and repairs to the figurines during the off-season.

Santa’s House was a project of the chamber’s 2013-14 Leadership Williams County class, with donations from local businesses and service clubs.

After Friday, Santa will keep regular hours at his house, beginning Sunday, Dec. 1, from 2-4 p.m., then on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m., starting Thursday, Dec. 3 through the 23rd. Hours on Saturdays (Dec. 14 and 21) are 2-4 p.m. and Sundays (Dec. 15 and 22) from 2-4 p.m. He’ll make one last appearance Monday, Dec. 23, from 6-8 p.m.

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