You better watch out, you better not cry because Santa Claus is coming to town tomorrow, Saturday Nov. 18. He arrives to participate in Greater Sudbury's annual Santa Claus parade. The parade starts at 5:30 pm. The fun starts earlier in the day at 2 pm at Market Square and continues after the parade at the Rainbow Centre. Reporter Heidi Ulrichsen recently had a chat with the man in red about his life as an international jet-setter.
NL: What is your real name?
SC: Rodney Campbell.
NL: Is the name Rodney Campbell a cover for your real
identity as Santa?
NL: How can Santa fit down chimneys?
NL: If you're the real Santa, what did I want for
Christmas when I was seven?
SC: A Barbie doll.
NL: Is there more than one Santa?
SC: No, there's only one Santa. He looks different in various countries because he changes his clothes from place to place.
NL: Is your favourite food cookies and milk?
SC: No, it's liver and onions. I love them!
NL: Why do you do this?
SC: I love the kids.
NL: How did you get into the Santa business?
SC: I got old and grew a white beard. Actually, I was raking leaves in my ditch, and a woman walking down the street thought I'd be a better Santa than the one they had for the Sudbury Twins Club. I did their party for several years.
I've been doing the parade for about 14 years. I've also been the Santa at the New Sudbury Shopping Centre for five years. I think this is the last year for the mall though because my knees are finished.
NL: What do your old Inco buddies think of your double life?
SC: They think it's great. In fact, some of them still come out for the parade and wave at me.
NL: Do you have grandkids?
SC: Yes, they are 8, 9 and 10 years old. Actually, they're coming up to be in the parade.
NL: Any funny moments from the parade?
SC: No, not really because I'm so high in the air that I'm all by myself. I know there's been times that I've looked down and been terrified when we're turning corners in the trucks and people are sitting right on the curbs.
NL: What's the best reaction you've had from a kid
while you've been in your Santa clothes?
SC: I was out in Val Caron doing the Boy Scouts party. I was watching one kid, and he was excited. When his name was called, he zipped across the floor, and he jumped, and I caught him. He was standing with one foot on each knee, looking me in the face. Some of them get sooooo excited.
NL: Any memorable mall Santa stories?
SC: I've had a lot of really little babies put on my lap. I had a-day-old baby one day. I said to the girl "What are you doing in the mall?" I thought it was a bit crazy. Before that, the youngest was about five days old. I also had a mother and daughter come in, and the daughter was 21. They had come in every year to have her picture taken with Santa Claus.
NL: Do you wear red and white in everyday
SC: I try to stay away from red. I have enough kids looking at me with the beard. But if you're wearing red, that's it. I start growing my beard Aug. 1 and then after Christmas Eve it all comes off except for the mustache.