ISHPEMING - Big, soft flakes of snow tumbled down on Old Ish Square in Ishpeming Thursday night, blanketing the city's lit Christmas tree and the nativity scene curiously juxtaposed to the stoic Native American. The breath of children condensed in the air as they shouted and played in the snow, waiting with their parents for a turn to ride on the horse-drawn sleigh.
The sleigh rides have been a feature of Ishpeming's Christmas celebrations every Thursday throughout December. The kids have also had an opportunity to share their wish lists with Santa and Mrs. Claus outside of Congress Pizza.
Kids had varying reactions to the rosy Arctic philanthropists: some laughed, excited; some simply stared in amazement; some of the younger ones shied away, grabbing onto a parent's leg; some cried.
Kids and their parents wait near the Christmas tree for a turn to ride around the block on a horse-drawn sleigh in downtown Ishpeming Thursday. The sleigh rides, as well as the chance to share a wish list with Santa and Mrs. Claus, were held every Thursday throughout the month of December. (Journal photo by Zach Jay)
One child asked for an XBox 360 with Halo 4 and Halo Reach.
"Is there anything else you want?" Santa said gregariously, repeating this refrain for each kid who sat on his lap.
Some would only whisper their wishes into Santa's ear, out of shyness or for fear that to speak them aloud might break the magic of their wishes.
When the kids had voiced their holiday desires, Santa and Mrs. Claus gave them a bag filled with candy - an early Christmas present.
As they and their parents ventured back out into the snow, Mrs. Claus beamed after them.
"Aren't they cute?" she said.
Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.