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Crawling Back To You, A Santa Claus Guest Column

by on December 05, 2013 6:00 AM

Happy Holidays to all the residents of Penn State, Happy Valley and Centre County.

As we have now reached the month of December it is time once again for me to start making my rounds.

My good friend and high school classmate Uncle (yes he is that old) Larry has asked that I make a return engagement to this year's Santa Crawl at State College.

Because this event will once again benefit the Pat Boland Scholarship being established in Penn State's world-class College of Communications I will be there with bells on — literally I will be wearing jingle bells.

Pat was one of the good guys in the journalism community in State College. A journalist of integrity, he was fair and thoughtful. Most of all he was taken from us way too young, so this scholarship fund allows us to honor his memory and hopefully impart his ideals to students studying in his field.

The Santa Crawl in State College is among the largest of any in a college town. Last year I was overwhelmed at the strong Penn State Santa cult, with people dressed up like Santa Claus numbering in the hundreds. But it is so much more.

The Three wise men joined people dressed as reindeer, Yukon Cornelius and characters from the Grinch, Elf and A Christmas Story. Because I am an inclusive person, this year I'm putting out a call for some Hanukkah Harrys to join the throng.

The last two years, I felt right at home and was able to mingle unnoticed among everyone. Most of the time when I travel my wardrobe and beard make me stand out. People want to sit on my lap, ask me for stuff and pull on my white beard.

Don't get me wrong, in a town blessed with so many attractive female college students the lap-sitting and beard pulling is a perk. But it is nice to be one of the crowd and blend in with everyone. Mrs. Claus is always checking the pictures on my phone, Instagram and Facebook page during the Santa Crawl. If a couple of compromising pictures involving Santa do pop up I can blame anyone of the other hundreds of Santas in attendance.

But please, do not tag me in every photo you take. I have a big travel day coming up and can't spend time trying to explain to Mrs. Claus that I do NOT belong on the naughty list.

This year's Penn State Santa Crawl tips off (more on that in a minute) Saturday December 14th and we'll make our way all over downtown State College. All the information can be found at Click HERE to sign up to participate on the Santa Crawl's Facebook Page. I even have a special Twitter account @SantaCrawlSC.

All that internet and social media stuff is great but I am an old-school traditionalist at heart. That is why I am thrilled to start my Santa Crawl in Rec Hall for Penn State Basketball's Return to Rec game against Princeton. Penn State coach Pat Chambers and point Guard Tim Frazier have been well-behaved this year so I plan to deliver them a win as an early Christmas gift. If they are very good I will find them a post-season berth in the NCAA tournament as well.

It promises to be a fun day for a good cause. I do love my trips to Penn State and wish I could stay longer, but alas I have to get up to the Pennsylvania hard coal region before I head back to the North Pole. There is a big payload of coal that I have to get in time to deliver to a certain NCAA President and a former FBI director on Christmas morning.

One other note, I do love how this charitable event benefits a good cause while also bringing people and business into downtown State College. As Saint Nick, I serve on the special Committee of Holiday Saints. Perhaps I should talk to Saint Patrick and see if there is a way that he could make a fun but responsible event happen the week after the good students of Penn State raise millions of dollars to fight pediatric cancer in the Dance Marathon.

Make it a State Patty's Day/THON Appreciation Crawl that kicks off the fund-raising for the next year's THON. Sell wristbands that benefit THON that admit the wearer to the local bars. If someone misbehaves we cut off the wristband and they're done for the day.

I'll be the first to commit to THAT event if we make it happen.

But back to what is ...

On December 14th join me for The Santa Crawl. Let's show everyone that we can have a good time, raise money for a good cause and be responsible citizens while engaging in some good-natured fun.

Maybe we can show the State College Borough Council and Penn State that we are capable of the words painted on the wall of The Ugly Mug in Cape May, New Jersey.

"Mix a little folly with your wisdom, a little nonsense is pleasant now and then."

I'll see you all on December 14th for some pleasant nonsense. I promise a little something extra in the sack for everyone who attends.

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This piece was submitted by a guest columnist.
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