On Centre: Around Philipsburg | Big Santa returns to spread holiday cheer

Christmas has come a bit early to Philipsburg.

While most people haven’t even started to shop for their Thanksgiving turkeys, Cold Stream Dam Recreation Area is already playing host to a holiday guest. A really big holiday guest.

Big Santa has come to town.

The 37-foot-tall jolly old elf was painted by the late Bill Adams onto plywood. He is accompanied, as ever, by his personal guard of toy soldiers and a wooden toy bag big enough to supply presents to every household in Philipsburg.

Some years, this Christmas card to the community has barely made it up by December 25, but stuck around long enough to hunt for Easter eggs. Other years, the weather has complicated both putting him up and retiring him for the season.

This year, however, Big Santa is here with plenty of time to spare.

Who knows how Santa comes to town? Sure, some say it’s big guys with tools and trucks that pull him out of storage, assemble the pieces and stand them up in time for a hearty holiday “ho, ho, ho.” My kindergartner is pretty adamant that it happens with the help of reindeer and talking snowmen. I’m not going to argue with that.

Welcome back, Big Santa. The holidays are never the same without you.