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Santa Claus and his helpers bring in Dearborn Heights holiday season tomorrow

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The Dearborn Heights Parks & Recreation Department will present the 2013 Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Tuesday evening at Dearborn Heights City Hall, 6045 Fenton St.

Girls, boys, moms, dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents are invited to bring in the joyous season with Santa Claus and his helpers. The Crestwood High School band will start playing holiday music at 6:30 p.m., and continue for 20 minutes before the official start of the ceremony at 7 p.m.

“We'll actually be getting ready for Santa's arrival,” Parks & Recreation Director Kenneth P. Grybel said. “The mayor and elected officials will be there, and the mayor will be presenting the key of the city to Santa.

“We don't tell how Santa will be arriving. We don't know who he is bringing with him, and Santa won't tell us. So if you want to know, you're going to have to attend the ceremony,” Grybel said.

Santa has shown up in many different ways over the years, he said, only a couple which he has duplicated over the years “to keep us guessing.” Grybel recalled that Santa arrived last year in the Edison Electric, and over the years he has arrived by helicopter, reindeer-drawn carriage, high ranger off the roof of City Hall, fire engine, snowmobile, and trolley.

“That's just some of the ways Santa has arrived,” Grybel said. “But Santa has assured me that he's not going to duplicate any of those past ideas this year.

“(How he arrives) would depend on the weather, but Santa will be prepared for it. He's a pretty smart guy,” Grybel said.

If parents get to City Hall early, he added, there will be a table inside where they can sign up their children for a free raffle. Starting at 6:15 p.m., any child age 12 & under can enter the drawing to be selected Santa's assistant. It is strictly luck of the draw, Grybel said, which determines each year who will help Santa in throwing the switch to light the Christmas tree and rest of the decorative lighting filling the City Hall grounds.

There will also be Christmas caroling, which will be led by the Divine Child youth choir. After the lighting, there will be light refreshments inside City Hall. Children can visit Santa then, according to Grybel, adding that parents will be welcome to take their cameras and cell phones to take pictures of their children with St. Nick.

For more information on the event, people can call the recreation department at (313) 791-3600. If a child cannot make the Dec. 3 tree lighting ceremony, all children can still sent their requests to Santa Claus by dropping letters in Santa's mailbox at City Hall until Dec. 20.

“Santa does respond to every letter he gets in the mail,” Grybel promised.

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