Santa arrived Friday evening for his annual visit to the Crossroads Mall in a convertible with two elves.
Since the vehicle bore Iowa license plates, the great mystery of the evening was how he managed to get from his workshop on the North Pole to wherever it was he parked the sleigh and got into the car.
Kelis Altman, 4, of Fort Dodge, was pretty sure it was via his usual method.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Surrounded by children, elves and young-at-heart parents, Santa arrives Friday evening at the Crossroads Mall in Fort Dodge for his first seasonal appearance. Santa and his elves were given a lift to the mall in a convertible from the secret location where he parked his sleigh.
"He flies with reindeer," she said.
Ditto for Chloe Knigge, 8. She explained that his early season transport was the same as his late season transport - reindeer and sleigh.
Being one of Santa's helpers, she had apparently been sworn to secrecy about where he left the magic craft. She would only reveal that it was legally parked and that Santa would not return to it to find Rudolph eating a parking ticket.
Max Patkins, 11, of Humboldt, had the whole thing figured out.
"He took his reindeer, dropped them off in the stables, then got a convertible and came here," he said.
Among some of the over-18 crowd, the answers to the mystery got a little less magical and a bit more practical.
Drew Stuhrenberg, 20, of Fort Dodge, wasn't sure how Santa did it, but he had a pretty good idea about how he would.
"It would be a nice trip to try out in a new 2010 Camaro," he said.
Esteban Renteria, of Fort Dodge, was pretty sure it involved some very complicated physics.
"He came in Star Trek-style," he said, making reference to the transporter used in the show to "beam up," among others, Scotty.
Nathanial Madden, 8, of Fort Dodge, had a practical answer.
"Maybe a boat, sled and a car," he said.
His twin brother Jonathon combined the practical with what may be possible someday.
"He went on his sled through time," he said.
Since nobody seemed to know exactly, an expert was consulted to help solve the problem - Santa himself.
"It's Santa magic," he said. "With a little assistance from the elves."
When pressed to explain exactly how that worked, Santa looked over the top of his glasses, poised a pen over the naughty list and replied, "That's as far as we're going to go."
Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com