Santa’s four local picks

Dale Brown Sr. never got to see Santa as a kid. Growing up in the country, the closest he got was occasionally catching a glimpse of Santa walking around a store. But today, he is Santa—to his family, the children in his neighborhood and anyone who visits Carnation City Mall.

Dale Brown Sr. never got to see Santa as a kid. Growing up in the country, the closest he got was occasionally catching a glimpse of Santa walking around a store. But today, he is Santa—to his family, the children in his neighborhood and anyone who visits Carnation City Mall.

He has played the part for holiday parties before, but he took his first official run at the role last year, arriving at the mall with Rudolph.

Brown asked the kids who sat on his lap whether they had been good or bad, but he also gave them some advice: “I said, ‘Santa watches you all the time.’ ” He told the children they need to listen to their parents, teachers and coaches, do their homework, help around the house and refrain from fighting and arguing. “(The parents) said, ‘Thanks, Santa Claus, for telling them that,’ ” Brown said. “And the children, they just kind of sat there and looked at me and listened to me.”

Last season, the most-asked-for items were anything from the Disney movie “Frozen” and tech gifts, such as iPads. But some requests were more poignant. “One little girl asked me if I could bring her daddy home because he was, I think, in the Army. And she wondered if I could bring him home for Christmas,” Brown said. “That was the only thing she wanted.”

For Brown, part of celebrating Christmas means decorating his house and yard with lights, trees and even a sled and reindeer sometimes.

“Kids on the street will come out and see,” he said. “They say, ‘Santa Claus is decorating. He’s getting his house ready.’ ”

Here are some things Santa enjoys about Stark County:

No. 1: Sippo Lake Park
It’s close to his house, and he can attend educational meetings about animals or the other events held there.

No. 2: Perry Sippo Branch Library
The library has convenient hours, and there are bicycle paths and walking paths nearby.

No. 3 Stark County Fair
Brown goes to the summer event for the country music, the tractor pulls, the demolition derby and the good food.

No. 4 George Waikem Ford car shows
The dealership hosts antique car shows, and Brown takes his grandson to look, eat hot dogs and take pictures. Music from the 1960s and 1970s plays in the background. “I love antique cars,” Brown said. “I wish I would have kept mine that I had.”