Santa Claus, kids check their lists

Anxious children and parents crowded near Mamie Davis Park in Occoquan for Santa Claus to arrive, not by reindeer and sleigh — but by boat.

For at least seven years, Occoquan residents and visitors embrace the tradition of welcoming Santa to the historic river town by boat.

His bright red suit and the crowd of people could be seen from the bridge passing over the Occoquan River on Saturday afternoon.

Once Santa arrived, children and parents lined up with wish lists for themselves and for others.

CDs, computer games and dolls are a just few things on 9-year-old Tori Wiener’s wish list. Both Tori and her mother, Sylvia, of Woodbridge, come to see Santa arrive by boat every year.

Parents were just glad to watch their child pull out a wish list while sitting on Santa’s lap, however Sylvia did have one wish.

“I want peace and happiness,” Sylvia said.

After spending about an hour near the river, Santa walked over to Occoquan Town Hall, waving to and greeting holiday shoppers along the way.

At the town hall, Tori had an additional request for Santa.

“And I have one more thing — a pretty ring for my grandma,” she said.

Dayna Burnworth, 26, of Lake Ridge and her two sons, have seen Santa come by boat for the past five years. In addition to the family tradition, she and her sons pick out an ornament at a local shop.

“That’s our tradition every Thanksgiving. We don’t go to the mall, we come to Occoquan,” she said, adding, “What better way to see Santa than by a boat.”

Her 7-year-old son, Stephen, was eager to sit on Santa’s lap at the town hall.

Once he did, he had one wish.

“I want to get my mommy something — a ring, a big diamond ring,” Stephen said.

Santa, children and parents weren’t the only ones dressed in red. No one awaiting Santa’s arrival caught as much attention as Lucie, a Maltese dog with white fur, dressed in leopard-print coat and red Santa hat.

Lucie’s owners, Brenda Seefeldt and husband John Amodea, live in Occoquan and look forward to celebrating the holiday season in the quaint town. Both laughed as they explained the attention their dog gets.

“She’s spoiled. She gets everything,” Seefeldt said.

Among holiday wishes he heard from children and adults, Santa also had a wish for children.

“I would wish that the children of today would be more giving in their attitude, be more tolerant of others,” he said.

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