Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down 30A.
The jolly ol’ man will arrive for the annual Turn on the Town celebration at Seaside to light up the community and the faces of good little girls and boys Nov. 24 in the Central Square Amphitheater.
“We’re looking forward to seeing all the folks,” said Santa.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will position themselves beneath the town’s 24-foot bedecked Christmas tree in the amphitheater to take photos and talk to children of all ages.
“Santa will stay there for as long as it takes” to hear all of the children’s wish lists, he said.
But Santa’s arrival is but the pinnacle of the tradition, which will kick off Friday night, Nov. 23, with a screening of “Elf” in the amphitheater at 7 p.m.
The Saturday morning scene will open onto a special holiday Seaside Farmers Market, which will last 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
“With the market leading into the early afternoon, it’s really a full day of holiday activities,” said Adam Shiland, event producer. But, “At 4 o’clock the festivities really kick off with the annual South Walton holiday parade … it’s truly a 30A and South Walton tradition that originated in Seaside.”
The parade will begin at Seagrove Plaza, and the decorated floats and golf carts will travel the mile and a half to Seaside, followed up by the red-and-white-garbed Claus couple, who, in this year’s parade, will leave behind the reindeer in lieu of a horse-drawn carriage.
Santa and his cheery wife will ride into Seaside, “Ho, ho, ho”-ing all the way, then dismount at the town’s center to spend time greeting the crowd to the backdrop of carolers.
And if that is not enough to flip the switch on your holiday cheer, the town-wide lighting is sure to do the trick. Thousands of lights will twinkle throughout Seaside as in years past, though more holiday lights than usual will brighten favorite scenes.
“Some of those iconic Seaside structures are going to be lit,” said Shiland, “one in particular for the very first time.”
He added that is just one of the “really impressive” surprises, though he wouldn’t give any away.
“It ought to be quite a sight,” said Santa, who will count down the town lighting.
After the traditional lighting, it will be time for children to hop on Santa’s lap and tell him their Christmas wishes. But be forewarned, nothing naughty or nice can be kept from this 21st century Santa.
“Santa’s very up to date; Santa has an iPad,” he said of the system that can scan a face and immediately reveal “Naughty” or “Nice.”
But he said it isn’t too late for a child — or adult — to change.
“Typically we do the naughty and nice list,” said Santa. “But it’s done in pencil.”
Santa said adults are also welcome to share their wish lists, but made sure to add that spelling counts when asking for a brand new Mercedes. He added that the cars are really model cars, but, “They can get any color they want.”
And as excited as the child in all will be to see Santa, he is looking forward to exchanging the North Pole’s snow for Seaside’s white sandy beaches.
“That’s what Santa likes, that’s why he vacations in Florida in the summer … We love Seaside,” he said. “They really do know how to Turn on the Town.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to Turn on the Town, as well as your holiday spirit, this Nov. 23 and 24. The event will begin Friday at 7 p.m. with the movie screening, followed by Saturday’s slate of activities, which will include the holiday market, the parade at 4 p.m., and Santa’s arrival and town lighting around 5:30 p.m.