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Biglane ready to lead annual Santa Claus Parade

Pat Biglane recalls standing on the sidewalks of Natchez watching the Santa Claus Parade pass by. Now Biglane will be leading the same parade and making memories for other children this year. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Pat Biglane recalls standing on the sidewalks of Natchez watching the Santa Claus Parade pass by. Now Biglane will be leading the same parade and making memories for other children this year. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Pat Biglane has fond memories of standing on the streets of Natchez as a child waiting for the man in red to come through his neighborhood.

Ensuring local children continue having a similar experience for the holidays is what Biglane hopes to accomplish this Christmas.

The Santa Claus Committee chose Biglane as this Christmas’ local Santa to lead the annual Santa Claus Parade and hand out toys to needy children on Christmas Eve.

“When the parade goes out and the kids light up when they see Santa coming, that’s what it’s all about,” Biglane said. “Helping these children have a special Christmas is going to be what makes it all worth it.”

The Santa Claus Committee got its start in Natchez in 1928, when a group of businessmen decided they wanted to ensure that even the less-fortunate local children have a merry Christmas.

The committee exists only for charitable purposes, and members pay yearly dues to participate in the committee’s annual parade, which is on Christmas Eve.

Biglane’s roots run deep in the committee.

He joined the committee in the mid 1970s, but his father, brothers and other family members were all members of the committee including some who donned the Natchez Santa hat and suit.

The committee, Biglane said, is a tradition that’s truly Natchez.

“There’s a lot of history in Natchez of giving back, including the committee where there’s always a feeling of needing to give back to the community,” Biglane said. “Imagine what life was like in 1928 when the committee started?

“Those were real hard times back then, but Natchez hadn’t forgotten the traditions of help those who can’t help themselves.”

Part of the parade includes stopping at Braden School Auditorium and passing out presents to children ages 1 to 10.

Biglane said that will likely be the part of the experience he enjoys the most.

“I always remember going to Braden School and watching those kids and how they just light up,” Biglane said. “I think that makes it all worth while.”

Nearly 86 years after the committee was formed, Biglane said none of the charitable giving would be possible without all those who have come before him.

“That’s a long time to keep something going,” Biglane said, laughing. “Everything is sort of pushed aside for this because everyone knows it’s all for a good cause and it’s all about Christmas.

“It’s like one big family.”

Biglane is president and chief executive officer of Concordia Bank & Trust Company. He is also a member of St. Mary Catholic Church, The Knights of Columbus, Natchez-Trace Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Natchez Now board, Vidalia Riverfront Authority, Miss-Lou Steering Committee and the Historic Natchez Foundation board.