NEW BUFFALO — A Santa clad in green and five members of the Culver Pipes and Drums added a touch of St. Patrick’s Day to a Nov. 30 Fill Santa’s Sleigh (and Karaoke with the Queens) Toys for Tots Drive celebration at Dooley’s Lake House Pub in New Buffalo.

“It took these pipers to go all the way to the North Pole to bring this Santa all the way down here to visit with us,” said restaurant owner John Dooley.

He said Mayor Lou O’Donnell IV asked him to chair an effort to hold “the first annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Buffalo.”

“Save the Date” green wristbands were then handed out.

“The date is March 7th 2020. That is going to be the parade that is going to go up Whittaker Street and make the town proud,” Dooley announced.

A sleigh was being filled with donations for the local Toys for Tots campaign during the Nov. 30 event, and the Miss and Mr. New Buffalo Scholarship Organization raised money for its scholarship fund by raffling off a $100 Four Winds gift certificate.

The Toys for Tots sleigh will remain in Dooley’s at 310 West Buffalo St. (and donations can still be made) until Dec. 17, after which the toys will be distributed in the community.

Dooley said last year toys and gifts from the sleigh (built by Eric Oldenwald both years) helped 17 families.

Members of the 2020 New Buffalo Royal Court performed karaoke songs during the festivities, and it was announced that they would soon be sending Christmas cards to veterans.

After the Culver Pipes and Drums (consisting of Brent Van Norman, Steven Meyers and Hamish Van Norman on the bagpipes, and drummers Nikki Nixon and Erin Watson) had performed inside Dooley’s, they (and everyone else packed into the restaurant including “Irish Santa”) went outside for the lighting of a 17-foot spruce Christmas tree.

An “ugly sweater contest” and more holiday cheer followed back inside.

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