Santa Claus will make his pre-Christmas rounds this weekend in Jefferson and Switzerland counties.

On Saturday, Saint Nick will make appearances at the Madison and Vevay holiday parades, and he will be accompanied by a stream of floats and local participants and spectators.

In addition to hosting the guest of honor, The Very Merry Christmas Parade in Madison will feature a host of children's book characters strolling down Main Street.

The city of Madison parade will begin at 10 a.m. and is expected to last about one hour. The event will run from Jefferson Street to Broadway and will feature numerous musical acts and more than 40 community participants.

Following the event, patrons also will have the opportunity for a meet-and-greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the children's book characters at downtown businesses. The list includes: Garfield, Skippyjon Jones, Curious George and The Berenstain Bear Family.

Garfield will be at River Valley Financial Bank, while Skippyjon Jones will visit Village Lights Bookstore. Meanwhile, Curious George will make an appearance at Little People's Boutique and The Berenstain Bear Family will be at Jefferson County Public Library Madison branch.

In addition to hosting Skippyjon Jones on Saturday, Village Lights Bookstore will celebrate Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day, an event that is observed by more than 45 states.

In observation of the event, local poet Jack Ramney will read Dylan Thomas' classic "A Child's Christmas in Wales" at the store from 2 to 2:30 p.m.

Warm cider and cookies will be served for the children.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the Ohio Theatre, where children can see a free screening of "The Polar Express" following the parade.

Also on Saturday, Vevay will hold its Christmas parade at the Switzerland County Fairground at 3 p.m.

The parade line-up will travel through Main Street and down to Paul Ogle Riverfront Park. At the park, Santa will officially start the town's Christmas season by lighting up the decorations on the riverfront.

The event will be sponsored by Switzerland County Tourism.

On Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16 Santa will be available to greet children at the Switzerland County Visitors Center, 128 West Main Street, Vevay, from 1 to 4 p.m.