Santa Claus took a wagon trip down Olympic Avenue as part of the annual Hometown Holidays Santa Parade on Dec. 7.

The Saturday event is part of a yearly tradition of holiday activities for the city which includes Santa Claus and other festivities.

"We have a great choir from Kent Prairie that's going to sing in a few moments, there's free hot chocolate across the street, pictures with Santa, it's Super Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. we have the original 'Charlie Brown Christmas' and 'The Grinch' on the big screen," said Chad Blood, pastor from Arlington Lifeway Foursquare Church and one of the organizers of the event.

Santa Claus, along with numerous local organizations and groups, travels down Olympic Avenue as part of the Santa Parade.

Afterward, families can take pictures with Santa Claus at Legion Park.

The traditional Festive Sweater Contest provides both kids and adults a moment to celebrate their sweaters with the most holiday spirit.

Free wagon rides sponsored by the Downtown Arlington Business Association provide a trip around the downtown area during the day, and will also be available from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 21 as well.

Many families and kids said they enjoyed the events.

Local father Dana Basham said his family has been coming down for more than five years now.

"It's a family tradition. We come out here every year. We like seeing the tree, Santa, and the parade. My daughter is in the choir as well," he said.

Merritt Johanssen said he enjoyed the parade and seeking Santa Claus. "I just like it," he said.

Parent Curtis Donnelson said he also enjoys coming down for the Hometown Holidays. "I just like the community, it's a great community," he said.

Blood said that many Arlington locals enjoy the event for its ability to bring people together.

"I've heard over and over again that the community sees our town like a Hallmark town. I think in today's busy pace and craziness, I think to have something that comes together like this with community, with festive cheer, there's nothing that beats it," he said.

Hometown Holidays also brings families of the community down for a nice, safe event.

"I really enjoy meeting new people and that the people can come collectively down here. It's a safe environment and we don't have a lot of places like this where people can bring their families down," said Blood.

He said his church wants to help with events like these to bring people together.

"We want to be immersed in the community. We're a church here but we're not just a church and I don't think we should ever be stuck behind the walls. We should be out here doing stuff and practical things to bring the community together," he said.

More information on Arlington's Hometown Holidays is available at arlingtonwa.gov/hh.

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