Santa Claus is coming to town. In truth he has already been sighted in a few places but his big season is beginning now. 

With COVID putting a damper on his work schedule, he is very rested to start this season with an almost back-to-normal routine.

He had a long conversation with Brian Brennan, chairman of the Holiday Stroll for the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, to see how they could celebrate but still remain within the protocols for health safety. 

So here’s what’s happening, all of which was decided within a short period of time. Santa will be here on in Riverside on Friday, Dec. 3, not in a sleigh but on a fire truck, sirens and all, down East Burlington Street to Centennial Park for the official start of the holiday season with the lighting of the Riverside tree. 

He will remain at the park to greet everyone and pass out holiday coloring books to all the good boys and girls.

Strollers are then invited to view the train display at the Riverside Garage where there will also be a petting zoo. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage down Burlington and wave to those who have come to celebrate one of Riverside’s traditions. 

Many businesses will be open to greet people, possibly outside of their storefronts. A stop at Aunt Diana’s Fudge Shop is a must, but the number of people in the store at one time is limited and don’t forget your mask. 

Check out the eating establishments in Riverside and see what’s happening outside of Riverside Foods. Next door at St. Paul VI Parish there’s also something planned — stop by and see.

Cross the tracks and go to Quincy Street and for a pony cart ride and then make stops at Quincy Street Distillery, Higgins Glass and the Riverside Arts Center. 

Brookfield is also ready to welcome the festive season, especially businesses like Christopher Mark Flowers, Betty’s Flowers, Laura Atwood Studio and birds at Keith Brennan’s shop For the Birds. He has the best selection of children’s books as well as everything for the local bird enthusiasts, whose numbers appear to be increasing.

To all, enjoy your surroundings and be safe. Ho-ho-ho!