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For ‘Singing Santa Claus’, it’s all about making memories

Singing Santa Claus

Tom Long, 47, has played Santa since his early 20s, when he first applied at a mall in Ohio. He hopes his sons will someday carry on the tradition.

The name Tom Long is synonymous with the name Santa Claus, at least at The Founders Inn.

For the past 10 years, Long has been the jolly old man in the red suit at the inn. This is the 20th year that the Founders Illumination has ushered in the start of the holiday season in Hampton Roads.

The tradition kicks off at noon Sunday and runs until 8 p.m. At 6 p.m., the grounds transform into a magical winter wonderland when thousands of white lights begin a sparkle that lasts throughout the holiday season.

Free and open to the public, the event has always been a gift to the community, said Jean Vinson, public relations coordinator for The Founders Inn and Spa, which is now under the management of West Paces Hotel Group.

“The kids just love it; they get stars in their eyes,” said Vinson, adding that organizers expect about 2,000 people to attend.

Each year, attendees look up in awe at the 35-foot Christmas tree in the atrium while musical groups such as St. Gregory the Great Catholic School Children’s Choir, Young Musician’s Middle School, Providence Presbyterian Church Hand Bell Choir, Norfolk Christian Windsong and more perform beneath it.

The activities, inside and out, are for young and old. They include: a marionette show by Spectrum Puppets, reading of the Christmas story by Pat Robertson, face painting, Singing Santa Claus, Philippine Cultural Dancers, Rhythm of Ireland Dancers and carriage rides.

This year, three new acts join the mix of entertainment: a yo-yo artist, Krendl the Magician and toy soldier stilt walkers. But, the one familiar face everyone comes to see and talk with, of course, is Santa Claus.

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Singing Santa Claus now on Facebook

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The Singing Santa Claus is now on Facebook! Please surf on over to Facebook and click on the Like button!

Singing Santa Claus Now on YouTube

The Singing Santa Claus YouTube Channel is now online! Be sure to visit Santa’s YouTube Channel often for new videos and stories!

Singing Santa Celebrates 25 Years of Service!

Singing Santa Claus
This year, 2010, marks Singing Santa’s Silver Anniversary — 25 years of service!

To celebrate, Santa has launched a brand new website! Visitors to the newly designed website can learn more about Singing Santa, view pictures, watch videos, check on Santa’s appearances, and much more!

To learn more about Singing Santa, visit the Singing Santa Gallery.

If you would like to find out if Santa is available for a visit with you, contact Santa’s Executive Assistant, Tom Long.