Leonardtown, MD – “Who’s ready for Santa Claus?” Leonardtown Mayor Dan Burris asked the huge crowd standing in the town square. A roar went up from the throng and is became louder as Santa, riding atop a Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department truck traveled on Washington Street, eventually stopping where Santa could climb off, join Mrs. Claus and be greeted by Burris on a makeshift platform at the base of the town’s official Christmas tree.

The frenzied scene, one Leonardtown has become noted for, occurred Friday evening, Nov. 23. It was the town’s traditional Christmas on the Square. The four-hour event started in the late afternoon and drew hundreds, many of whom took advantage of satellite parking at the College of Southern Maryland’s St. Mary’s County campus. As a buildup to Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting there was plenty of music and entertainment, crafts, face-painting and street vendor sales. A nearby church had a live Nativity scene. Dunkin provided free cups of hot chocolate, allowing revelers to cope with the frigid temperatures.

It took three tries, but a couple of loud ho-ho-hos resulted in a lighted tree, adorned with traditional decorations.

Christmas on the Square is sponsored by the Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department, the Leonardtown Business Association and the Commissioners of Leonardtown. Aiding the effort to get the Yuletide season rolling were the Leonardtown Volunteer Rescue Squad, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship and dozens of volunteers. A fleet of buses of various sizes safely transported attendees to and from the center of town.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will return to Leonardtown Saturday morning, Dec. 15 at 11 a.m. for an event that could draw nearly 2,500 people.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com