Thousands line up to welcome Santa Claus to Sebastian

SEBASTIAN — Approximately 2,000 grandparents, parents and children lined Indian River Drive, waiting anxiously for Santa Claus to come gliding to town on his sleigh.

“We’re here for Santa,” 3-year-old Sean Box said, bundled up in a hooded, winter coat and thick blanket. His sister, 5-year-old Ashley, said her favorite part of the Christmas Parade is seeing Santa. She plans on asking him for a computer. Sean wants a remote controlled Monster Truck.

“The kids have fun,” their mom, Kelli Box, said while sitting next to their grandma, Patty Box.

For Grandma, the best part of the parade is watching the kids.

Not everyone who attended the parade had children in tow. Retirees Alida and Rolf Hirschfeld, of Micco, brought folding chairs and warm jackets to take in the sights of the annual event.

“We come every year,” Alida said. “It just puts you in the holiday spirit.”

While they came to see Santa, Alida admitted that Santa hasn’t done much for her for Christmas over the years.

“He brings the Discover bill with him,” she said.

The Hirschfelds have been attending the event ever since the city hosted a lighted boat parade. The city stopped the boat parades after the 2004 hurricanes.

“This is better,” Alida said of the street parade.

“You couldn’t see the boats,” Rolf said, explaining that the boats were often too far out from shore to be readily seen.

Also in attendance were friends and family members of those who were in the parade lineup.

Christin Cole and her son, Jordan, 4, sat along Indian River Drive, ready to cheer on Cub Scout Pack 589, of which Justin Cole, 8, is a member. Justin and Dad, Brian Cole, were in the float, wishing the crowd a Merry Christmas.

As much as Jordan was there to see his big brother in the parade, he said he really wanted to see Santa.

He plans to ask Santa for a blue robot that shoots lasers at the bad guys.

This was the first time the Cole family had been to the Sebastian parade, Christin said. They attended the Vero Beach parade a couple years ago, but that’s it.

Several dozen floats helped bring in Santa Claus, including decorated tow trucks from Mike’s Towing, a float from Pelican Diner, the Sebastian Sea Scouts, Girl Scouts, a taxi/chauffeur service, Sebastian Police Department, Indian River Fire Rescue, among many others.

After the parade, children crowded around Santa and Mrs. Claus’s Holiday Cottage at Riverview Park.

Santa has promised to be home the next two Saturdays for a couple hours to get the last minute wishes from the area’s children.

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