Aiken was greeted by a unique tradition on Saturday, as the Aiken Hounds celebrated the holiday season in a special way. Santa Claus, elves and a team of reindeer assembled at the parking lot of the Green Boundary before making their sojourn into Hitchcock Woods.

“It’s a great time, and everyone looks forward to it because it’s not only an opportunity to spend time with friends, but we also have a chance to show our Christmas spirit,” said Larry Byers, Aiken Hounds, joint master of fox hounds. “It’s a great time to be here, and families love to come and see it.”

There were many of the spectators at Saturday’s gathering.

Many of the horsemen participating in Saturday’s hunt have a deep appreciation for tradition. Lori Jenkins rode her 10-year-old Buckskin Quarter Horse McGraw.

“It’s an awesome celebration of the horse community, not only the Aiken Hounds, but others who are coming together to celebrate Christmas,” said Jenkins. “The true spirit of Aiken is our equestrian friends, the horses. McGraw has come a long way. He’s a lovely member of the family and a pretty neat guy.”

“It’s a great, fun day,” said Cathy Chambers, who was wearing an elf hat and rode Woody. “It’s cold and feels like Christmas in the North.”

Martha Guy hunted with her daughter Sarah, who made the trip from Washington D.C., to take part in what is becoming a Christmas tradition. Their horses were dressed in holiday attire featuring garland and stockings.

“I borrowed a horse for Sarah from my friend Victoria Cunningham, and her horse is named Picasso,” said Martha Guy. “I’m riding Gabe.”