NUTLEY, NJ - As Santa Claus landed in the Nutley Oval by his personal helicopter, so did drops of rain. The weather did not spoil the 55th annual helicopter ride to Nutley for the jolly old elf.

Approximately 3000 children, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles waited along the outside of the Oval to meet Santa and his wife, Mrs. Claus according to Nutley Chamber of Commerce president, Dan Leon.

Music provided by Ultimate Entertainment filled the air, as Santa hopped out of the chopper greeting his wife who arrived earlier. The couple waved to their many fans.

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Many Nutleyites can be seen drinking free hot cocoa on this damp cool day; unlike last year when the weather was so unseasonably warm.

The first 500 children received a goody bag filled with candy and toys. “Bags are filled with crayons, a coloring book, silly putty, pencils and pens,” said Barbara Chiarieri of the Nutley Chamber of Commerce.

Also Mayor Joseph Scarpelli provided the children with a letter writing kit for them to let Santa know just what they want this year.

Candy canes, donated by Nutley Park ShopRite, were handed out by elves. The “elves” and most the volunteers were Nutley High School sophomores, juniors and seniors. Nutley Raider’s Varsity C (grade 4) cheerleaders and friendly characters such as Frozen’s Olaf, Elmo, Princess Bubblegum, Finn and Mickey Mouse kept the crowd entertained as Santa and Mrs. Claus changed the pace by greeting the children by the oval entrance.

Santa and Mrs. Claus enjoyed meeting the children without having to reach over the tall fence this year.  They both agreed it was much better to meet the children face to face. Parents quickly snapped photos of their children with their phones as the long lined seemed to quickly move on.

It’s a great day, a fun event. The (Nutley) Chamber did a great job; it’s a nice way to kick of the holiday season,” said Nutley Police Chief Thomas Strumolo.

“It’s a Nutley tradition that has been going on a long time, (I’m) glad Nutley Chamber of Commerce continues to do it,” said Scarpelli.

“Today was fantastic,” according to Nutley resident Stefanie Scaperrotta. Her daughter Samantha, 4, already made a list for him requesting a crayon maker, playdough, motorized car, laptop and a smart watch and a nail salon.

If you missed Santa today there is a direct mailbox for letters to him set up at Nutley Town Hall.