Here comes Santa Claus!

DOVER — Walking out in front, Mayor Robin Christiansen led the Downtown Dover Partnership’s “Home for the Holidays” Parade on Saturday. But by round of applause, it was Santa that everyone had come to see.

In fact, before the parade, Finn Sweeney, 7, of Dover had been hatching a plan to call out what he wanted for Christmas as Santa passed by. His mother, Beth, nixed the plan, saying that he’d have a chance to talk with Santa one on one after the parade when he visits with children.

“I want Legos!” Finn shouted.

Recent transplants from Connecticut, it’s the second year the Sweeneys have turned out to watch the parade. The were curbside, wrapped in their blanket on the 100 block of Loockerman Street.

“It’s fun on a Saturday morning,” said Beth. “It’s not a very long parade, which is actually a good thing because Loockerman is so shaded and it’s starting to get cold out now.”

The temperature for the event was in the high 40s with 19-mph wind. The parade route started at the Duncan Center and ran east down Loockerman Street to State Street. The two-piece local band “Imagine” belted out Christmas tunes beside the grandstand set up on Bradford Street.

The combination of cold weather and excited parade-goers does wonders for coffee sales where “The BnL” is concerned, said manager Ian Reedy.

“Coffee and tea sales go through the roof,” he said. “We see an increase of somewhere between 10-20% over a normal Saturday. We’ll have a full house throughout the day and the to-go orders are fantastic.”

The BnL (short for The Brunch and Lunch), operating in their current location for almost two years, replaced the long-standing Dover Newsstand and Café after it closed.

Owner, Dominic Williams, said efforts launched by the Downtown Dover Partnership, like the parade, give the local businesses a much needed boost.

“They try to keep a steady stream of events like the Farmers’ Market at the Plaza and First Friday going,” he said. “It’s a big challenge to get people downtown, but they are having some success at it. Downtown has a negative stigma that really isn’t true — it’s safe to come downtown.”

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