Santa Makes Annual Arrival (with the Mrs. This Time) to Turn On Belmont

Photo: One youngster got very shy when greeting Santa Claus at the Belmont Savings Bank during the 24th annual “Turn on the Town” in Belmont Center, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2015.

Why was Santa and Mrs. Claus coming out of the basement of Champions Sporting Goods? It was expected the famous couple was coming down from their workshop beyond the Arctic Circle using the sleigh pulled by reindeers on the annual visit to Belmont Center to light the Christmas tree and say hello to all the town’s kids.

But there they were, climbing out of the section of the store where hockey and baseball equipment are located.

Turns out there was a “reasonable” answer to the question so many were asking on Thursday, Dec. 4.

“There’s a tunnel from the North Pole to the store. It’s easier,” said Champion’s owner Gerry Dickhaut.

Another mystery solved.

And before you could say “Ol’ Saint Nick,” Santa was on top of a Belmont Fire Department Engine for the short trip to the town’s tree and the official start of the 24th annual “Turn on the Town” celebration.

Residents came out with their children while pre-teens and some high school students wandered closed Leonard Street to participate in the night’s activities.

After the tree was illuminated, the Claus’ headed to the Belmont Savings Bank’s headquarters for a round of photos with a larger than usual number of toddlers who made it quite clear they didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be around somewhere before Christmas,” said Santa to a child and her mother.

Outside, Leonard Street was filled with free eats, the Belmont High School Madrigals (many who were auditioning at the same time for the spring musical), a petting zoo, Frosty and Rudolph and a train ride.

And in a sign of the times, one young girl took a “selfie” with Rudolph rather than wait for her mother to show up to take a photo.

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