NORTH ROYALTON – Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Wallings Lane.

Bells will be ringing, children singing, all will be merry and bright for the office on aging’s annual Christmas in July extravaganza.

St. Nick is relaxing over summer break but he’ll take a special vacation getaway to North Royalton from the North Pole to help liven up Christmas in July festivities, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 9 at Discount Drug Mart at 5500 Wallings.

Christmas is about children and the giving spirit, and so is this red-kettle event, which benefits the North Royalton Salvation Army unit.

Proceeds are used primarily to provide school-age youngsters with clothing vouchers for back-to-school apparel; gift cards for new shoes; and supplements Operation NR Cares, which provides school supplies to children in need.

Utility reconnects and short-term housing for the homeless are also made possible through this.

Every penny received stays right here in North Royalton.

Santa enjoys this every summer.

“Santa is looking forward to making a special early visit to North Royalton to help families in need and to visit the wonderful children that live here. Most importantly Santa is willing to sweat a little in the July heat for such a great cause to support. He hopes to see many little boys, girls and their families pay him a visit in his short time here,” Claus said.

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but Santa is really Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw.

To spice things up a bit, there will be a carnival-style atmosphere complete with popcorn, cotton candy, games and prizes.

“We’ll have Mr. Claus, Mrs. Claus and there might even be a clown running around. And I’m not talking about me,” said Debra Burrows, outreach specialist for the city’s office on aging. “We are going to play silly carnival games this year – duck pond, ring toss, corn hole, knock-down cans. Everybody’s a winner.”

Game tickets will be five for $1.

It’s a true group effort put on by the North Royalton Office on Aging and Human Services and the Royalton Hills Lions Club, but they couldn’t do it without help from their own personal elves.

Boy Scout Troop 218 pitches in with a car wash and Drug Mart sponsors the hotdog cookout complete with chips and soda, available for a donation of any amount.

Krispy Kreme doughnuts will be available for purchase too this time.

“This is my favorite charity. It’s a great community effort. The mayor allows us to use tables and a grill. Drug Mart and the Boy Scouts’ help is always a blessing,” said Donna Urban, a Royalton Hills Lions director. “Everyone pulls together because money stays right here in North Royalton, and we all need to work together to do this.”

This is all about kids.

“Christmas is for kids, and Christmas in July is no different,” Burrows added. “Families do have a place to reach out to when they need help.”

This year’s joyous occasion is tinged with a bit of sorrow. For years Judy Stalzer played Mrs. Claus opposite Langshaw. Stalzer died unexpectedly not long after Christmas. Joyce Harrison will continue the role in Stalzer’s honor.

“It meant a lot to her to be able to do that and then to also be there with the kids. She just loved the kids, and we know how excited she was because she had her new grandbaby,” Burrows said. “We will be continuing on Mrs. Claus in her memory.”

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