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New Santa to make parade debut

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By Johnathan Ryan

Even when he's not wearing the red suit, some people do a double take when they see Lancaster resident David Brewer.

Ever since he grew a beard, he looks so much like Santa.

"Whenever we're out, like at a restaurant, children run to him, much to the amazement of their parents," said Brewer's wife, Barbara.

The Brewers will play Mr. and Mrs. Claus in the Lancaster Christmas parade Saturday. Two of their grandchildren, Blake and Gabriel Brewer, will play elves.

This will be David Brewer's first time playing Santa in the Lancaster parade.

He said he likes playing Santa.

"I like to see smiles on the kids, and if you see smiles on the children, then you'll usually get to see their parents smile, too," he said.

Brewer has been playing Santa since 2003, when he volunteered for his Matthews, N.C., church to pass out toys to children living in needy Charlotte neighborhoods. Last year, he played Santa Claus at a homeless shelter in Charlotte.

He played Santa at Winterfest in Heath Springs last weekend.

Barbara Brewer said she and her husband commit their time because they enjoy children and seeing them fill with joy at the thought of Santa Claus.

Santa will occupy just one of many floats planned for this year's parade, which has 30 more entries than last year.

"I'm just glad we have a variety of participants from all aspects of the community and region," said Sylvia Hudson, manager of See Lancaster's information center. "There should be something enjoyable for everyone."

See Lancaster, an organization that promotes the county's municipalities and Van Wyck, is co-sponsoring the parade with the city of Lancaster.

There will be festive floats and antique cars, which may be decked out in Christmas lights, Hudson said. There will also be three high school marching bands, step teams, public service workers and dignitaries.

State Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster, will be the grand marshal.

"He was very happy to do this," Hudson said.

The parade will start at 6:30 p.m. and run along Main Street, between Woodland Avenue and Arch Street.

Carolers to sing before parade

The Voices of Hope carolers will perform at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the lot at Main and Gay streets to get people in the holiday spirit. The group will provide hot drinks to attendees.

Downtown Lancaster will be aglow with new lights furnished by the city of Lancaster. Wreaths also now hang from the streetlights in the area. Some downtown businesses, perhaps inspired by a downtown decorating contest, are also decked out.

Some businesses are expected to be open until the parade starts on Saturday and during it.

"With the addition of the city's Christmas lights and more retailers participating, we hope it will be a winter wonderland without the snow," Hudson said.

Saturday's forecast is clear with almost spring-like conditions. The high will be around 70, and the low will be about 42.

Contact Johnathan Ryan

at 416-8416

or jryan@thelancasternews.com