Santa on the Sea

Santa Claus will be making his annual return visit to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay to gather gift requests from area children. He will welcome children aboard the Tug John Purves, the Museum’s 93-year-old in-water exhibit, from 10am–1pm on Saturday, December 1.


The event will be held in conjunction with the museum’s Merry-Time Festival of Trees and will provide the public with a special opportunity to see the trees. While admission to the museum is free to children through age 17 until the festival’s closing on December 11, adults will be admitted to the museum’s galleries Saturday for only the price of a raffle ticket. Tickets sell for $5 and allow the purchaser to try and win a decorated tree of their choice spread throughout the museum.

Sponsored by local businesses and organizations, there are 21 trees and one wreath. Those purchasing tickets can place them in the “candy cane” receptacle adjacent to the trees. Tree themes range from breast cancer awareness to the Green Bay Packers, hardware to Irish whiskey and much, much more.  One of two “pirate” themed trees includes $250 in Wisconsin lottery tickets among its buccaneer ornaments.

There is also an extensive silent auction that is highlighted by numerous art works featuring originals by noted Door County artists, holiday ornaments, wreaths, centerpieces, ship models and other varied items. Santa’s visit offers a double treat for the children since it not only presents an opportunity to see Santa, but to also step aboard an historic tug boat.

“Santa will arrive at the Museum on board a Coast Guard boat. At least that’s the plan, provided ice doesn’t prevent it like it did last year,” said Bob Desh, the Museum’s executive director. Santa is scheduled to arrive on the waterfront at 10am.

“The Coast Guard and Santa have a special relationship during the holidays,” said Desh, a retired Coast Guard captain. “We feel fortunate to be able to share in that tradition.”

Once on board the 149-foot vessel, Santa will eagerly accept children’s Christmas wishes. However, due to the cramped conditions on the vessel, only two adults will be permitted to escort the children. While they wait, children will be entertained by holiday videos in the Museum’s Reddin Bridge Room.

There is no cost for visiting Santa, but a raffle ticket purchase is appreciated and will allow the entire family to experience the museum and its popular “Pirates—Ship to Shore” exhibit.

The Maritime Museum is located at 120 N. Madison Avenue, between the two downtown bridges. For more information on Santa’s visit or the Museum in general call 920-743-5958 or visit

Press release submitted by Door County Maritime Museum

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