As the sirens of the fire engine heralded Santa’s arrival at the 40th Swiss Village Lighting, some kids just couldn’t help but jump up and down.

“Santa’s coming, Santa’s coming,” said one little girl jumping up and down in her excitement.

A Thanksgiving weekend winter storm delayed the event from its traditional Black Friday time slot until Sunday, Dec. 1, but that didn’t dampen enthusiasm.

By 6 p.m., when Santa arrived, the line of parents and their children stretched from the Roundup office to the fudge shop, like a happy herd of reindeer.

While many waited in line, others enjoyed hot dogs, popcorn, cider, face painting, cookie decorating and wandering the shops to get a leg up on holiday shopping.

Country Charm Fudge Shop gave folks a chance to try the fudge, grab a hot chocolate or coffee and pick up some locally made soaps, knitted hats or other goodies.

Other shops such as the Arizona Wildflowers and Gifts, the Payson Candle Factory, Consign Your Design, La Sierra Mexican Restaurant, Back to Basics and Above & Beyond Aesthetics Salon plus many more opened their doors to serve warm drinks and cookies.

The event launches the holiday season in Rim Country, especially for the children who can’t wait to tell Santa what they’d like.

“I’d like a live puppy,” said one girl.

“Well, Santa can’t give you a puppy,” said Santa. “But if you have your mom call me, I’ll tell her where to find one.”

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