Santa flies into Colville

RaeLynn Ricarte
Staff Writer

Santa took a trial run to town via airplane Dec. 15 to make sure there was enough “Christmas Spirit” for a successful sleigh journey this week.
“To tell you the truth, I also wanted to come here for the pancake breakfast,” he said after arriving at the municipal airport.
He was referencing the free morning meal that awaited him at Elks Lodge 1753 after he had greeted a large crowd of children.
Standing between Santa and breakfast, even after he was escorted via firetruck to the lodge, were excited children who wanted to give him their Christmas list and pick out a present provided by the Elks.
“I hope they save me a plate” said Santa, looking longing at the sausage, eggs and golden pancakes served free by the Elks.
“I am always impressed by all the wonderful people in this town — all the great kids,” he said. “It's one of my favorite places to visit.” Santa said the reindeer were in the North Pole training for their big flight around the world on Christmas Eve. He said the elves were working overtime to ensure there were enough presents for all the good little boys and girls.
To avoid disrupting holiday preparations at home, Santa said he accepted the offer by the Washington Pilots Association to fly in for a quick visit.
He was escorted by two planes flown by local pilots.
Although there were children in and around Colville on the naughty list who were still in danger of getting coal in their stocking instead of a gift, Santa was confident they would turn things around.
“I'll be checking the list right up until the last minute,” he said.
Santa later reported that everyone had been moved off the naughty list by Christmas Eve.
Brooklyn Wickstrom, 4, dressed up like a princess to greet Santa at the airport. Her plan was to ask him for a “Golden Key” or “a Baby that Poops and Pees.” Other children arrived in various costumes and one boy even wore a formal suit to honor Father Christmas.
Santa was welcomed with applause and immediately surrounded by children clamoring for one of the 110 gifts that filled his red bag, courtesy of the pilots association.
He was then transported in style to the lodge on Hawthorne Avenue where about 500 community members came for breakfast and to take pictures with their child on Santa's lap.
Through fundraisers, grants and donations by companies, the Elks purchase enough presents to heap a table that children could pick through after visiting with Santa. It now costs more than $2,000 to put on the annual event that Hutch “Butch” Sager, exalted ruler of the Elks, said is continually growing.
“This is just one of the things we do for the community and it is something that everyone enjoys,” Sager said.