By: Kathy Witt
While we all know that the real Santa Claus lives at the North Pole, he’s got an amazing stand-in in Georgetown in the person of Bill Bryant. Santa Bill has been lighting Georgetown’s official Christmas tree since 2008, but he’s been wearing the suit and making kids smile since 1991.
That year, he appeared at a WKQQ event, passing out books, candy, a small gift and clothing to children on behalf of the radio station.
He had such a jolly time that he promptly agreed to step back into the role and the suit for another event the very next weekend.
“I asked one little girl what she wanted for Christmas and she said, ‘I want a bologna sandwich,’” Santa Bill recalled. “I asked, ‘with cheese?’ She just smiled and it melted my heart. I told a person on my crew to get my billfold and buy that child something to eat.
“At that very moment I was hooked.”
During Georgetown’s annual tree lighting celebration, Santa Bill poses for pictures with kids, and no matter how many children line up, he is famous for bringing an unflagging joy, energy and enthusiasm to each photo session.
“As Santa, you are filled with the Christmas spirit the entire season,” he said. “It’s not something you turn on and off.
“Seeing a child’s face smiling, excited to see Santa, it brings me such delight and fills me with purpose – whether it’s the first child I’m seeing for the day or the last.”
SANTA BILL LIGHTS UP GEORGETOWN
Later that day, Georgetown’s tree lighting celebration will take place; however, like so many other events in 2020, it will be virtual. Still, this is Georgetown, a community that knows how to make even a virtual tree lighting fun, charming and memorable.
Families are invited to gather in their homes at 7:30 p.m. and tune into the Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Facebook page for “A Spirited Celebration.” Hear special holiday messages from Mayor Tom Prather and County Judge Executive Joe Pat Covington.
Then, watch as Santa Bill, rested after his morning and afternoon of posing for photos and hearing kids’ secret Christmas wishes, makes his grand entrance on a shiny red firetruck. He’ll be lifted by firetruck ladder high into the night sky to sprinkle a little Christmas magic onto the tree and lead the countdown to lighting Georgetown’s official Christmas tree.
Author: Kathryn Witt
Kathryn Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Secret Cincinnati, The Secret of the Belles and Atlanta Georgia: A Photographic Portrait. A member of SATW, Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Books & Illustrators, she lives in northern Kentucky.