It’s not December yet, but Santa Claus is already coming to town.
To help kick off Bartow’s effort to get more people downtown, Santa Claus is making a visit to help it next weekend at the 3rd Saturday Marketplace.
He’s also going to be here this weekend at the Downtown Bartow Craft Fair, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Main Street, but his appearance will be for only a part of that time.
“This Saturday I’m coming to the craft fair and you’ll see me in my workshop attire,” Santa Claus said from his North Pole castle. “I’ll be there from about 10 in the morning to about noon … maybe later.”
But next weekend, Santa is spending it in Bartow. First he’ll be at Magic on Main, which will be part of this month’s Friday Fest. Not only will he be present when thousands of holiday lights are sparked on Main Street and the Holiday Wreath display starts, but he will be staying around that night to attend the unveiling of what Main Street Bartow folks will be the first of many party weekends downtown.
The 3rd Saturday Marketplace is mostly going on in Fort Blount Park, but because the season is busy for St. Nick, only he will be there on Saturday, as Mrs. Claus is going back to castle after Friday Fest.
“Saturday is the kickoff for the farmer’s market, but Mrs. Claus won’t be there. She’s got to go back to the North Pole,” he said. She’ll have to not only tend to the elves’ snacking habits, but they can fool around when the supervision is less than adequate, he said. “They have a tendency of goofing off a bit.”
Santa said he enjoys coming to Bartow because he likes the scenery and the people here.
“It’s really amazing how they are,” he said of Bartow residents. “It doesn’t look like I’m bringing any coal to Bartow this year.”
During his visit to Bartow on Nov. 16, Santa said he’ll set up shop at the Polk County History Center and let children get in their early wish lists and get a picture, perfect timing, he said, for making their own Christmas cards with Santa in the picture. But he wants to warn children, they may not get everything they ask for. Santa puts a lot of thought into what to get children and does his best to match what is appropriate with what they want.
“Sometimes things are a little complicated for the elves to make,” he said. “But Santa’s always sure to get the right present for a child.”
This won’t be the final visit Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making to Bartow. They plan to return for the holiday parade which is scheduled Friday, Dec. 13.
That’s quite a few visits for someone who lives so far away. And, don’t think he’s got an easy time getting here, either. The reindeer only fly on Christmas Eve, he said.
“The magic only works on Christmas. These times I pick up a plane at the airport like everyone else.”