Santa, Mrs. Claus and a whole host of their festive friends spread holiday cheer on Lake Jordan earlier this month when they visited public boat ramps and private docks. Children’s faces lit up with excitement and joy as the magic of Santa filled their spirits.
The Lake Jordan HOBOs organized the inaugural event last year after the much-anticipated wakeboarding Santa was canceled at Christmas on the Coosa due to low water levels. HOBO President Jeff Royal’s son, Tyler Royal, plays that role, so they decided to refocus their efforts to the lake, as they already had plenty of costumes.
“We just kind of threw it together in two weeks. We used to have a big Christmas parade on Lake Jordan, so we thought this event might be successful. We all dressed up as characters and paraded around the lake visiting piers and handing out candy,” said Jeff Royal.
This year, the number of participants in character seemed to double as three boats traveled to designated locations. Families sent requests on Facebook for the boats to stop at their piers and were anxiously waiting outside when they all arrived. Jill Murchison, who also played Mrs. Claus, coordinated the trail.
“We stuck to a few general points this year, as opposed to last year we just tried to hit too many locations,” said Vanessa Royal, Jeff’s wife.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were in one boat; Buddy the Elf, the Grinch, Olaf from Frozen, Cindy Lou Who and others were on a second boat; and new this year, the Griswold family joined the festivities.
“Kids were outside holding signs, ‘Santa stop here,’” said Royal. “It was a great thing to see.”
Royal, who also dressed up as Buddy the Elf, played his role mischievously and magnificently, yelling, “Santa! I know him! He’s here!,” along with other memorable lines from the movie Elf upon approaching each new destination.
Starting at Lake Jordan State Boat Ramp, the procession of boats made eight stops, along with encountering some unexpected visitors along the way, and ended at Bonner’s Point with a large crowd showing their support.
The holiday crowd was even trailed by a marine police escort with Officer Corey Robinett at the helm.
Despite a few setbacks of mechanical boat issues, the event was a success, and Royal said they hope to continue the tradition each year.
Lake Jordan is the southernmost reservoir in the chain of lakes along the Coosa River and covers approximately 6,800 acres with a shoreline of 118 miles.