Santa reels in big crowd in Port Dover

By Michael-Allan Marion, Brantford Expositor


Santa usually pulls into town on a sleigh to usher in the holiday season, but in Port Dover he honours a tradition of arriving at the dock in a tug boat and wading through a crowd of adoring fans to take his place in the annual Christmas parade.

There was a misty rain and a damp cold air when Santa landed as expected early Saturday afternoon. He stepped ashore, followed by Mrs. Claus and some elves. Then the entourage indulged a sea of children and parents snapping selfies and group shots on cellphones as they made their way along the dock to an unseen white carriage waiting to take them into a parade up the main street.

After a lengthy bath in the crowd, Santa and his group finally made it to the carriage pulled by a team of Belgians owned by Scott Sowden of Evergreen Hill Farm near Port Dover.

The trusty driver was Sowden's daughter, Samantha.

“Wow! I got to see Santa get off the boat and get a picture with him,” Heather MacGowan, 8, said as the carriage pulled away.

She and her parents, Jim and Anita, had driven all the way from Cambridge just to see Santa’s arrival.

“I hope I get my Christmas wish. It’s a PlayStation for me and my brother,” Heather added.

“We don’t have one, but I think we’re big enough.”

Making a colourful sound for the parade was the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band as they played a medley of familiar tunes of glory mixed with Christmas favourites.

Colourful floats included one promoting Port Dover Scouting and another Art With Heart.

Bringing cheer to the crowds along the street were Art With Heart members Ella Bradt, Abi Richards, Nikki Campbell-Schram, Jason Schram and Hailey Hibbs.

As the parade headed up the street, Jason Schram, dressed in a white costume, stopped to hand out goodies to five boys from Waterford Minor Hockey. Then he headed up the street.

Also getting the community into a festive mood were the Jack Snaps, formed 14 years ago and who have many times won the prize in community events as the best adult walking group.

“We really love what we do,” said Robin Mastervick, who has been with the group for five years.

“It’s fun getting into the festive season.”

Brantford Expositor