Ringing in the Holidays; Christmas in the City comes to Austin

Three-year-old Riley Clayton tells Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas during Christmas in the City Friday night. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Three-year-old Riley Clayton tells Santa Claus what he wants for Christmas during Christmas in the City Friday night. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Santa Claus visited Austin Friday night at the annual Christmas in the City in downtown Austin.

“We’re here to get everybody marching and get them ready for the Christmas spirit, heading down Main Street here,” Santa Claus said as the crowd got ready to follow him and his elves down the street.

The Ecumenical Bells handbell choir plays “Frosty the Snowman” during Christmas in the City.  Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The Ecumenical Bells handbell choir plays “Frosty the Snowman” during Christmas in the City. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Santa has visited Austin every year for as long as community members can remember, and he wasn’t slowing down or letting the cold weather get him down.

“I’m ready to go, the kids are ready,” he said. “It’s not cold, it was a lot colder last year I know that, probably 20 degrees colder. It’s a nice night.”

For Stephanie and Mike Postma, the cold also wasn’t a big issue, even though they recently moved back to Austin from California.

Dancers perform scenes from "The Nutcracker" in the Jane Taylor Academy of Dance Christmas Shows in the Pacelli High School auditorium. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Dancers perform scenes from “The Nutcracker” in the Jane Taylor Academy of Dance Christmas Shows in the Pacelli High School auditorium. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

“We’re bundled up in our new coats and we’re loving it, came a little early, but we’re enjoying it,” Mike said.

They came with their friends and friend’s children to see Santa and get in the Christmas mood.

“Our friends came in from Rockford for Thanksgiving, and their little ones wanted to come down town and see the parade and the lights, so we’re excited,” Mike said.

Stephanie added, “We’re here to support the community, we’re here with our friends.”

Mayor Tom Stiehm introduced the event, which showcased the Austinaires choir which sang a number of songs, sleigh rides, Santa, a small train-ride, and many different stores that were open and offering something warm to eat, something cold to eat, or drawings or deals.

Piggy Blues owner Josh Diaz was excited for the event, and has been every year since the restaurant opened in 2000.

“It’s just a fun kickoff to Christmas, to the season in Austin, and it gets people kind of out and in the mood to celebrate Christmas and go shopping and just enjoy Austin,” Diaz said.

The restaurant was serving holiday flavored gelato Friday night, in flavors like candy cane. They also had a drawing for $100 in Piggy Blues gift cards.

“Christmas in the city is always a really popular event; people like it,” Diaz said. “There’s sleigh rides and Santa; almost every business is doing something, whether it’s serving hot cocoa or roasting chestnuts, things like that. There’s lots of fun stuff for everybody, so it’s awesome.”

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