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Santa and the Grinch

Characters enliven Small Business Saturday on Central Avenue

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Ethan “The Grinch” Becker, owner of Dungeons and Dodgers, poses for a picture with Jenna Worthen, of Webster City, who had stopped into his store Saturday morning during the Breakfast With Santa event.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and even the Grinch were all in agreement on one thing Saturday as they visited businesses in downtown Fort Dodge.

Shopping local is a good thing indeed.

All three of them were doing their part to make it fun, too, as part of the Main Street Fort Dodge Breakfast With Santa event to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Terry “Santa” Cook, who owns Candies and More, donned his red suit and big white beard.

“We’re encouraging people to support local businesses,” he said. “Shopping downtown helps support all the locally owned shops. It builds our community up and helps support the economy.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Decklyn Payne, 5, gets to visit with Santa Saturday afternoon as he stopped into Olde Boston’s Restaurant & Pub for lunch during the Breakfast With Santa event.

Ethan “The Grinch” Becker owns Dungeons & Dodgers.

His outfit caused quite a stir.

“I almost caused an accident by Daniel Pharmacy,” he said. “People were paying more attention to me than their driving.”

With the Grinch, there’s one or two reactions.

“Kids can’t wait to see me or they’re scared to death,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Santa and Mrs. Claus examine a role playing die pillow Saturday morning at Dungeons and Dodgers in downtown Fort Dodge during the Breakfast With Santa event.

He tries to be a good and friendly ambassador for the theft of Christmas lights and roast beast.

“One went from absolute terror to smiling in three seconds,” he said.

When it comes to local business though, he’s more like Santa.

“We have a lot of great businesses downtown, a lot of them doing fun stuff,” he said. “We have a great, great community.”

Jenna Worthen, of Webster City, is a regular visitor to downtown Fort Dodge. She said she makes a weekly trip to Dungeons & Dodgers … and now “and Grinch.” She said she enjoys the atmosphere downtown.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Always the gentleman, Santa opens the door for Mrs. Claus Saturday afternoon as they make their way around various downtown Fort Dodge businesses during the Breakfast With Santa event.

She spotted him while driving.

“You made my day,” she said. “I was the one screaming. My friend and I, we both screamed.”

She was having fun.

“I’ve had my day made,” she said.

While Santa had started his day at Bloomers on Central, he also stopped in to visit with River Hops Brewing co-owner Ron Grebner.

While Santa took a pass — it wasn’t noon yet at the North Pole — Grebner has a cranberry nut brown ale already on tap for the Christmas season and he’ll be tapping a Christmas brew Wednesday.

“It’s a peppermint milk chocolate stout,” he said. “The cranberry nut brown, that’s available now. It’s made with fresh cranberries, it’s good.”

He too said that supporting locally owned small businesses downtown is good for the community at large. His brewery lets the shopper stop for a refreshing adult beverage.

“They can do that even if they haven’t been shopping,” he said.

All the downtown jolly made Santa hungry. He stopped at Olde Boston’s Restaurant and Pub for lunch.

Owner Michael Payne was on hand to greet him.

“With locally owned businesses,” he said. “More dollars stay in the community, about 60 percent stays.”

While Santa was made welcome, he said the Grinch would be allowed in, if he behaved himself.

“We’ll try to serve him a couple of cocktails, get him happy,” Payne said. “We will have to protect our Christmas lights though.”

As Santa looked over the menu, he also looked over some of the items children on the “nice” list had given him. They included a hand-colored stocking, three letters and a note from Payne’s daughter, Decklyn Payne, 5.

So what was on it?

“A guitar and lots of toys,” she said.