A familiar face made an early visit to Denton this weekend.
As pedestrians walked the sidewalk along North Elm Street on Sunday, they were greeted by Santa Claus between Bookish Coffee and UNT on the Square.
Standing on the sidewalk, he was quiet. As people passed by, he greeted them with a wave and a smile and asked some whether they had been naughty or nice. Smiles spread across the faces of children whose eyes widened as they approached him. Passers-by with children stopped to capture a photo of their child with Saint Nick before continuing on with their day.
One of those individuals passing by was Brooke Rose of Krum. She said seeing Santa on the Square came as a surprise.
“We were surprised, but it was a nice surprise,” she said. “It’s good that everyone is walking out so that they could see him.”
Though the official start of the holiday season is still a few weeks off, Santa was on hand for three hours Saturday and Sunday to greet those on the Square and to pose for pictures as a new addition to the Downtown Denton Holiday Open House hosted by the Denton Main Street Association.
Throughout the weekend, local businesses participated in the event, offering specials, refreshments and door prize drawings, and other activities were slated to take place on the Square.
Right alongside American flags that had been placed out for Veterans Day were garlands and wreaths with large red bows decorating portions of the Courthouse on the Square for Christmas. Families and a couple who visited the Square on Sunday posed for photographs on the courthouse steps. Large Christmas trees at the top of the steps with red bows and gold stars served as the backdrop for some of the photos.
At the spot where Santa was set up, coats were collected as part of a winter coat drive helping local families in need — another new addition to the open house.
A box of donated coats and other clothing was nearly overflowing Sunday afternoon.
Mario and Emma Ramon stopped by the courtyard Sunday along with their 4-year-old daughter, Monica, to drop off a bag of coats. The family said they went through their closet retrieving the coats, some of which were new.
“It feels like we’re helping,” Emma Ramon said.
Monica sat on a couch to chat with Santa.
Though she said she was happy and excited about the visit, she was “too scared” to tell him what presents she wanted for Christmas.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.