NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Christmas is not yet officially here but on Saturday afternoon, Saint Nick stopped by for an early visit in New Providence at the New Providence Fire House. More than one hundred parents and children eagerly awaited his arrival.
Fire Department officials from the Borough greeted Santa as he arrived on a New Providence fire truck, which made its way along South Street and Central Avenue. Mayor Brooke Hern and Mayor-Elect Al Morgan welcomed Santa as he exited the fire truck and went into the firehouse. Morgan has attended the event since he was a child growing up in New Providence.
“Even when I was a little boy, Santa Claus would come to the Fire House on Passaic Street where Colonial Appliance was,” said Morgan, “This is a long tradition that New Providence has had and we’re happy that Santa Claus makes time for us every year.”
Morgan was also pleased with the reception of the yearly event in town.
“Oh [it’s been] great, and look at everybody here,” said Morgan, “And it goes on for a few hours so people come streaming in and out all day so it’s just a wonderful thing. Just to look at the kids’ faces; they’re all glowing wanting to meet the big guy. It’s really gratifying to see children and even the parents who take the pictures to see them walking out with a big smile on their face.”
Fire Department President Michael Allocco said that Santa has visited the firehouse every December for about 75 years. Allocco was delighted by the crowd of people waiting to see Santa at 1:00 in the afternoon.
“[The reception has been] very good,” said Allocco, “Today seems to be a bigger crowd at 1:00. Usually, we don’t get that big of a crowd but it’s nice that we have a nice crowd.”
Allocco said that all of the schools in town were notified by the Board of Education about the event and there were also signs in the center of town.
“We’ve had a lot more publicity this year. We usually get around 200 people on a bad year and around 350 in a good year,” said Allocco.
Max Pucci, 4, and father, Chris Pucci, are newcomers to seeing Santa at the Fire House. Max said he would like to see a Paint Maker, Marker Maker, and a Crayon Maker under the tree for Christmas this year.
“[The event today is] very well attended,” said Chris Pucci. “The kids are excited to see Santa. We appreciate the fire house doing this for us.”
At the Fire House itself, there was a large group of people gathered inside drinking hot chocolate and eating holiday cookies while sharing holiday cheer.