Santa comes riding into town on horseback at LaPorte Farms

SEBASTIAN–To a crowd of more than a thousand, Santa Claus came riding into Sebastian’s LaPorte Farms on horseback – a Santa Cowboy – to take the last Christmas wishes of little boys and girls.

Jackson stood in line with his family for 30 minutes for the chance to sit on Santa’s lap and ask for what he wanted under the tree this year.

“Trucks!” the 3-year-old said when asked what he’d whispered in Santa’s ear.

It was his first encounter with the jolly elf and he loved every moment of it.

“We’re having a great time,” Jackson’s mom, Mary Smith, said, while his dad, Dana, held 10-month-old brother Sawyer.

Sawyer might meet Santa Claus next year.

While the Smiths said they were impressed with the farm – this being their first visit to LaPorte – the best thing for them was seeing Jackson meet Santa.

Enzo Crisafulli, 3 ½, wasn’t anxious to meet Santa Claus, his dad, Dan, said.

Snow – “that’s the big thing” for him, he said.

The only other time Enzo experienced snow was when the family was in North Carolina – but then, he was a baby and doesn’t remember, Crisafulli said.

“This is great,” he said of the Cowboy Christmas event.

As the ice truck arrived to create the snow for the children, a crush of people gathered to watch the endeavor. Children sat atop their parents’ shoulders to catch a glimpse of what it must be like to see snow falling from the sky.

Among those eager to play in the snow were 8-year-old Brett Bishop and his little brother, Evan, 5.

“I haven’t seen snow,” Evan said, “but we seen frost on the window.”

Brett said he was looking forward to having a snowball fight with the other kids.

“We’re having a fun time,” their mom, Katrina Bishop, said. “It’s really beautiful.”

Along with Cowboy Santa and snow, the farm was decked out in thousands upon thousands of lights and several wintry displays.

Having survived the throngs of people in the snow, 23-month-old Jenna and her mom, Jamie Verola, squeezed out of the snowy corral with bits of snow in their hair and Jenna holding a snowball.

“We got sprayed,” Verola said as Jenna grinned ear-to-ear. “We had so much fun.”

Jenna handed the snowball to her mom when her hand got too cold, but she appeared to be in great spirits.

“It’s fantastic,” Verola said of the Cowboy Christmas. This was the second time the family, including Jenna’s dad, Michael, came to the free community event.

“They do such a great job,” she said of the LaPorte Farms teams. “We’re so lucky to have people” like them.

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