Sulliya: Vincent Mineges has completed 19 years of taking out his annual ride dressed as Santa Claus. He spreads the message of Christmas and shares sweets all along the route. Vincent, a farmer and social activist, is conducting his two-wheeler ride dressed as Santa this year too covering Dakshina Kannada, Kasaragod and Udupi districts on the borders of Kerala and Karnataka.
Travelling around 400 km in five days, the Santa visits places of worship, schools, colleges, convents, homes for the elderly, orphanages and auto-taxi stands along the way to popularise the Christmas message and distributes sweets. All people, especially youngsters, give this desi Christmas Father an enthusiastic welcome.
It was Fr Valerian Levis, who was the vicar of Kokkada St John’s Baptist Church, who inspired Vincent to launch his bike trips in 2000. The first trip, from Kokkada to Shiradi, evoked overwhelming response and prompted Vincent to take out the rides every year.
A few days before Christmas, Vincent decorates his scooter with balloons and takes a different route each year. This year’s tour touches Kasaba, Sulliya, Puttur, Uppinangadi, Vittla, Vorkady, Manjeswaram and Mangaluru.
After completing the trip, Vincent reaches his house and joins family members in Christmas celebrations.
A graduate, Vincent belongs to Kaukrady village in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada.