From WMBF News partner MyHorryNews.com:
By Tom O’Dare firstname.lastname@example.org
With thousands of miles of sleigh seat time coming up, not to mention millions of cookies, Santa needs to make sure he’s in shape for the venture ahead.
And if you happen to be riding down Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach early in the morning, you just might find out how he prepares for that long winter’s night.
Actually, one of Santa’s helpers calls this area home now. And when the boulevard is almost empty in the early morning hours, he hops on his bicycle for a daily ride — 18 miles a day as a matter of fact.
Larry Kave has been helping Santa and listening to children’s wishes now for 35 years, something he started in West Virginia before moving to Myrtle Beach five years ago.
He’s currently the Santa you see at Market Common and you’ll also find him at a number of private and nonprofit events leading up to Christmas.
Riding along Ocean Boulevard, Kave gets a lot of comments and waves from passers-by. He has the perfect, natural Santa beard and wears a Santa cap and a shirt that says, “Santa getting ready.”
He laughs that his 18-mile morning ride is often interrupted by folks wanting to take his picture or chat.
“I don’t mind,” he said. “It’s all in the spirit of Christmas.”
And he exudes that loving spirit in everything he says and does when it comes to his Santa role.
“It’s all about the children,” he explains.
Not only does Kave listen to the youngsters’ wishes, he makes sure that those that come from less fortunate circumstances still have a great Christmas.
For the last three years, he’s been a big part of the local Toys for Tots campaign.
The money he gets paid for the private functions goes directly to buying gifts for Toys for Tots kids.
This year, he’s also helping with Backpack Buddies and Habitat for Humanity.
When not donning his Santa suit, Kave likes to indulge in his favorite pastime —photography.
Since coming to the Grand Strand, he’s become the official photographer for the Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball team.
Even in that capacity, he helps with the many charitable events at the Pelicans’ stadium.
Kave used to have the job that any racing fan would dream of. He worked for Stock Car Magazine, getting to travel across the country as an official photographer, even major NASCAR races.
“It was fun and exciting but it meant that I was on the road all the time and away from my family, so I gave that up,” he said.
But for now, he’s back in Santa mode.
And if you happen to see him speeding along Ocean Boulevard on his bike, take the time to at least give him a wave and a smile.
In true Santa fashion, you’ll get it right back.
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