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Dashing through the fog


Santa returns to West Linn at annual holiday parade

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE - Leticia and Jordan, 2, Vilches of West Linn eagerly wait for the parade.

A light fog drifting over Willamette Falls Drive Saturday morning might have made it difficult for Santa to navigate, had he been airborne.

Luckily, on this morning Santa and his helpers were traveling by ground during West Linn’s annual holiday parade, which had a historic theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life West Linn — 100 Years.”

Santa rode in an old-style fire engine provided by Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, and was followed by Mayor John Kovash in a convertible and representatives from the Willamette Living History Tour who sang “Jingle Bells” as they walked.

The weather was considerably warmer compared to West Linn’s Tree Lighting ceremony, which took place a week earlier, and resident Nathan Satter smiled as the parade ambled down the street.

From left, Evelyn, 6, Melissa, and Nicholas, 3, Morlan of West finish up the 1 mile Ugly Sweater run.

“Christmas parades are unique,” Satter said. “It’s just fun, the kids love it. ... It seems like the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not too many weeks this year, so we haven’t really done too many Christmas things yet.”

Satter and his wife, Elissa, moved to West Linn about 11 years ago and have attended the parade every year since then. It’s especially appealing for their children, Ben and Maddie, who busy themselves filling small gift bags with the candy that is traditionally thrown from floats.

“They love coming down here for Santa and the candy,” Elissa Satter said. “Candy’s a big pull for the kids.”

Santa visited with children at the Willamette Fire Station shortly after the parade ended, and attendees were instructed to bring an unwrapped toy for local children in need.

As always, the parade was preceded by the “Ugly Sweater Dash,” a 5K and mile runs to raise funds and food donations for the West Linn Food Pantry.

Kate Munzii, 4, of West Linn goes over her list with Santa.

As a longtime attendee, Nathan Satter has seen the parade grow in scale over the years — even attracting residents from other cities.

“It seems like it’s actually getting bigger,” Satter said. “I remember earlier, it didn’t last so long. ... There’s people from all over now.”