Monday, December 12, 2011

Totally Texas -- Santa arrives on a fire engine

Richardson’s Santa’s Village

Richardson City Hall

411 W. Arapaho


I hope this season’s final installment of Richardson’s Santa’s Village has weather as pretty as the past weekend’s. The child-sized village of more than a dozen brightly-colored buildings hosts Santa and his helpers again this Thursday through Sunday, December 15-18, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Santa arrives in holiday style on a big red fire engine promptly at 6, to the sound of sirens, and the line for photos with him quickly stretches around the tiny house with its white picket fence. Signs caution that Santa must leave by 9 p.m. for a reindeer feeding, but there’s plenty to do between his arrival and departure.

My daughter and son-in-law brought their twin boys, who particularly liked Santa’s Pet Shop, with puppies available for adoption from the Richardson Animal Shelter; and the Beary Good Hospital, where they got weighed and measured (and received small toy bags as well). And then there was the K-ELF TV station, the reindeer shed, the ornament factory, and more.

Volunteers dressed as cartoon figures and toys stroll the grounds for more chat with kids and photo ops for their parents. Although the village is only staffed three weekends during December, it is lighted nightly and also open to the public for strolling and photographs during the day.

I got to the village between Richardson’s city hall and library only a few minutes past six, to find the parking lots already nearly full. Adjacent bank and post office lots also fill quickly, so either come early or wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a few blocks from business parking. (It’s wise as well as polite to ask first.)

Admission to the village is free. If the weather is threatening, check for possible closings at or call the recorded message line at 972-744-4300 after 5 p.m.


Also in Richardson: Joel’s Christmas Train -- an electric train large enough to ride on runs through Joel Occhiuzzo’s backyard at 156 Hidden Circle from 6 - 10 p.m. nightly through New Year’s, weather permitting. The train runs around a lighted, theme-park style center. There are no tickets to buy, but with an estimated 600-800 passengers nightly, Mr. Occhiuzzo appreciates (nondeductible) donations. For more information, see

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