ROCKLAND, Maine (WABI) - Children and families lined the shore of Rockland Harbor, eager to have their Christmas wishes heard. One child, Emery, was particularly excited.
"I'm waiting for Santa. I'm going to give him my Christmas list!"
Emma wanted a new pet. "I want a real kitten!"
Ava wanted a specific toy. "I want an OMG doll."
Santa arrived on a Coast Guard vessel to officially begin Rockland's Annual Festival of Lights, and to hear all these wishes.
Gordon Page is the Executive Director of Rockland Main Street, Inc. which organizes the festival. "You'd have to ask Santa what it's like to come in on a boat. It's a little different I'm sure. There are no reindeer pulling the boat."
Santa says that while the Coast Guard was very helpful, he prefers his sleigh. "Very rough! Luckily they let me stay down inside so I didn't get too wet."
After disembarking and snapping a few photos with his fans, Santa helped with a ribbon cutting on Main Street.
"The ribbon cutting officially opens the downtown shopping district for the Christmas shopping season." says Page.
Santa sat in a small workshop near the lobster trap Christmas tree to see the children. "Been busy today. It's a really good turnout."
Rachel said she'd been coming to the event for ten years. "I'm waiting to ask him for a new swing."
Kids could tell a wish to Santa directly, or drop their full list in the polar express mailbox.
Near the back of the line, Zane said he wanted to be sure his list got to the right person. "I'm giving it to Santa."
"It's pretty gratifying to know that this has become truly a family tradition for hundreds and hundreds of families." said Page.
Diane Lindahl of Owls Head says she brings her kids every year. "We love it we look forward to it every single year. It's the highlight of kicking off Christmas for us and the kids and I really enjoy it."
There are events happening all weekend long and more chances to meet the big man himself.
You can find a full schedule of events for Rockland's Festival of Lights on rocklandmainstreet.org