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.

This Week: Santa’s Here on Thursday! All-Night Shopping Tuesday, Flu Clinic Friday on the Beech

• On the government end of things, the Belmont Board of Selectmen are meeting on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall while the Zoning Board of Appeals will hold court in the Belmont Gallery of Art at the same time and date. The Belmont Planning Board will meet on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Town Hall while over at the Chenery Middle School, the Belmont School Committee will be in session beginning at 7:30 p.m.

• The Belmont Public Library’s 7th-8th Grade Book Club will discuss Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson on Monday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in the Young Adults Room. Attendees will also choose January’s book and enjoy some snacks.

• Pre-School Storytime will be held at the Benton Library, Belmont’s independent and volunteer run library, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 10:30 a.m. Stories and crafts for children age 3 to 5. Parents or caregivers must attend. Siblings may attend with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is located at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.

• Growing in popularity since beginning in 2010, Belmont Center’s fifth annual Midnight Madness will allow shoppers to buy locally from 21 stores which will stay open from 6 p.m. to midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 2. There will be snacks, drinks and each hour, customers can expect even deeper discounts. 

The Belmont Public Library is hosting a Homework & Hot Chocolate for Chenery students from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3. Stop by the Assembly Room, work on your homework, enjoy some hot chocolate, and try out an activity. Provided to you for free, thanks to the Friends of the Belmont Public Library.  Just drop in, no registration required.

• The extremely popular Art Classes resume for the year at the Beech Street Center with the first class taking place on Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Catherine Tang, now a senior at Belmont High School, returns to teach – without charge – her popular art class on Wednesday afternoons. Catherine uses, and provides, a variety of media including colored pencil, water color, charcoal, etc. There is no cost to attend but you must sign up.

• Representatives from Belmont and Watertown that serve on the Logan Airport Community Advisory Committee are hosting a public meeting on airplane noise from Logan airport on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. in Belmont’s Town Hall. 

• The Beech Street Center is holding hearing screenings on Wednesday, Dec. 3, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Receive a free hearing test, and if needed your hearing aid battery replacement. Mass Audiology offers this service free of charge to Center participants. Sign up at the front desk or call 617-993-2970.

• It’s LEGO time at the Belmont Public Library from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. The library’s LEGO club is for kids in kindergarten through second grade who want to meet and create their own unique structures.  All LEGOs will be provided so just bring your imagination to the Assembly Room.

• Mrs. Claus joins Santa for the Belmont Center Business Association’s 24th annual “Turn on the Town” celebration on Thursday, Dec. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank, the holiday festivities will run along Leonard Street in Belmont Center.

• Rogers Pharmacy will conduct a flu immunization clinic at the Beech Street Center on Friday, Dec. 5 from 1 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The flu shot is covered by Medicare, Part B and by most health insurance plans. Otherwise the cost is $25.99.