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August 22, 2017

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Santa congress brings red coats, white beards to Copenhagen streets

STOCKHOLM -- Over 160 Santas donning thick red coats and fur-trimmed caps spread Christmas cheer six months early as they paraded through the Danish capital of Copenhagen on Monday.

The white-bearded delegates appeared to be grateful for the cloudy weather and mild temperatures of about 20 degrees Centigrade at the parade, which kicked off their annual gathering.

The congress, held at the Bakken amusement park just north of Copenhagen, features parades and a Santa obstacle course race.

Wolfgang Pomp, an IT service and support employee who resides in Bonn, Germany, told dpa he has regularly attended the World Santa Claus Congress since 1996 and appreciates meeting fellow Santas and Saint Nicholas portrayers.

Ian Thom of London, another delegate, also enjoyed the cameradie at the convention, first held in 1957.

"It's a fun occasion," the 65-year-old said over the phone. "There is always going to be need for Santas, and even more importantly, a need for good Santas," Thom said.

The Santas gathering in the Danish capital hailed from Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States, organizers said.

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