NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Those driving around town today may have heard a lot of fire sirens and horns, but there was nothing to worry about. Despite the rain, Santa Claus delivered presents on Saturday, Dec. 14, to children all around town, as promised, for the New Providence Volunteer Fire Department's annual gift delivery fund-raiser.

Horns and sirens announced Santa's arrival in a fire engine at a home. (Usually he is on the engine, but it was too wet for that, today). Once at the home, the jolly old elf carried his bag of presents up to the door and knocked. At a few houses, the parents and children were outside putting up decorations, but many of the stops involved going inside. Most of the youngsters looked stunned when they saw him coming up their driveway or saw him standing outside when they opened the door. Once they realized Santa was there for them, and heard him call out "Merry Christmas," their faces filled with joy. Santa handed out presents to the children, chatted a bit with everyone, and posed for pictures before heading back to the fire engine which served as his sleigh and took him to the next home for another delivery.

Fire Captain John Signorello said Santa Claus was scheduled to make 125 deliveries between 9 a.m. and noon and 1 and 4 p.m. He stopped by the fire house at noon, between deliveries, and joined members of the department at a long table for a quick lunch.

The members of the fire department have held this fund-raiser for a number of years. For a donation of $35, the department arranges to have Santa Claus deliver a special present to a child -- the present is wrapped by the person making the reservation, who then delivers it to the fire house, where it is picked up by Santa Claus and delivered. There are a limited number of spots each year, so remember to keep an eye out for an announcement of the fund-raiser next fall in TAPinto New Providence.