MARIETTA - A Christmas tradition more than a half-century old continued in the Oak Grove area Sunday as lights and sirens called children from their homes for a visit with Old St. Nick.
Riding in a fire truck and escorted by members of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department, Santa Claus made the rounds through several neighborhoods during his annual "Santa Run," handing out treats and adding boys' and girls' requests to his already extensive gift list.
"We have a really good time every year - and most have been really good kids," Santa said.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Santa Claus lends an ear to 2-year-old Lexie Newlon as junior firefighter Austyn McVicar looks on along Indian Run Road in the Oak Grove area Sunday afternoon. Santa visited children at their homes throughout the area courtesy of the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department.
One of those children was 4-year-old Leah Newlon who met the Jolly Old Elf in the driveway of her home along Indian Run Road and told him she wanted a "Happy Napper with a Lady Bug" for Christmas.
Santa said he'd see what he could do, and reminded Leah to leave something out for his reindeer on Christmas Eve.
"But what kind of food do reindeer like?" she asked.
"Mostly carrots and sugar," he said.
Mom Teresa Newlon said all four of her children, ages 2 to 11, had waited with anticipation for the visit from Santa Claus.
"They've been watching for him all morning - just sitting on the couch and waiting," she said.
Another 4-year-old, Kadyn Lee Busche, was visiting her grandmother, Sandy Blouir, on Pineview Circle in Oak Grove.
"I saw him one time at the mall in Delaware," Kadyn said of Santa Claus as he climbed out of the fire truck to greet her and 2-year-old neighbor Samantha Mayo.
"She was napping last year when he came around, so this is a first-time experience for her," said Samantha's mom, Chrissy Mayo.
"It's just really nice for them to bring Santa around each year," Blouir added.
Candis Schoeppner has lived in the Oak Grove area for 25 years, and dropped off some bags of candy for Santa to hand out during Sunday's run.
"It's so cool that they do this every year," she said. "My youngest is 21 now, but all of my kids really loved it. I remember the first year we moved here, Santa came walking up the driveway - what a surprise."
Jason Hall, assistant fire chief at Oak Grove, said the Santa Run is a tradition everyone looks forward to.
"It's something the fire department has done for years," he said. "And it's just a given now - everyone expects it every year."