SOMERVILLE, NJ - Bundled up against the cold, thousands lined the curb sides to wave to Santa as he and his elves were escorted down Main Street by a convoy of fire trucks from dozens of towns in Somerset County and beyond, maintaining a holiday tradition that grows each year.
Sponsored by the Somerville Fire Department, the trucks and their crews arrived early in the afternoon at the staging area on Veterans Memorial Drive to decorate their rigs for the rolling light show, eager to escort Santa Claus down Main Street and through the side streets of the borough.
Veteran firefighters Dave Bowden and Joe Rodriguez have been the organizers of the parade since its inception; they brought the idea to Somerville after participating in a similar Celebration of Lights parade sponsored by the Wallington Fire Department.
Many of the firefighters, some of whom drive in from out-of-state, wired up their trucks with sound systems to play Christmas carols and holiday songs.
After driving down Main Street, the convoy of firetrucks drove through residential streets of the borough, past homes decked out and trimmed with lights and other decorations before the entourage made its way back to the firehouse at the corner of East Main Street and Veterans Memorial Drive where firemen and friends warmed up with some hot chocolate.
Prizes were awarded for the best decorated vehicles and houses.