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Santa season

Santa Claus is coming to town! And … spoiler alert for the children … chances are that Santa Claus is Dennis Brumbaugh, Santa extraordinaire. It all began a quarter of a century ago in the little town of Elma at the post Turkey-day kickoff when the regular Santa got sick. They had the suit, the beard, the pillow, but no Santa. The children were getting restless and that’s when Dennis stepped up and said, “Yeah, okay, I’ll do it, I guess.” By the mid-'90s he had a suit of his own, no need for the pillow, a hearty ‘ho ho ho’ and a schedule that spanned the holiday season.

He’s flown in helicopters and rode in and on fire engines; he’s had good kids and naughty kids, crying kids, peeing kids, kids who pull on his beards, kids who freak out, kids who want everything, kids who kick. And, that’s just the kids.

Through all of his experience as Santa Claus, the one tip he passes on to any and all inspiring Santas is quite simple actually: Always have a back up! No one Santas alone. It’s a dangerous world out there for the most wanted man in the world of children, let alone his impersonators.

Nevertheless, Dennis Brumbaugh has spent decades playing the jovial Santa to countless kids of all ages. But he has never worn the suit for family.

“I have four brothers and they’d rather play cribbage,” he said.

One of Dennis’s earliest Santa memories, having grown up in Everett is riding down with his family to the old Sears and Roebuck in Seattle where he’d climb up to Santa, give him his wish and slide down through the winter scene to collect a little present at the bottom.

You can find Santa, aka Dennis, all over this holiday season. He’ll be at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Elma and Simpson Elementary in Montesano on Friday, Dec. 7, and at City Hall for Breakfast with Santa from 8-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, after which he’ll be riding the fire truck down to Fleet Park at 10:30 a.m. for Food Bowl and again on the hook and ladder truck in the parade at 6 p.m.