On the Road with Santa!

GEYSER CREST – Here we go! (Cue soundtrack…)

Could it be?
Why, yes it is!

On a Sunday afternoon and early evening (December 6, 2020) that could only laughingly be described as “brisk,” a historic diplomatic mission of good will and cheer was accomplished – as Santa Claus himself, eschewing his traditional reindeer for a fleet of attention-grabbing collector’s fire trucks, triumphantly paraded through the streets and cul-de-sacs of Saratoga Springs’ Geyser Crest neighborhood. The Jolly One was excitedly received by many socially-distanced families, and children of all ages.

This was the first in a series of such historic missions planned (see schedule above) throughout the month of December. They are presented by the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association (DBA,) which, in conjunction with King Enterprises (who donated the fire trucks and probably 80,000 gallons of diesel fuel,) underwriting by Stewart’s Shops, and countless volunteer hours and in-kind donations – chief among these are from Derek Hallquist of Green River Pictures, LLC – who is taking on the task of providing hours of video from both last Thursday’s (12/3) Tree Lighting Ceremony, as well as chronicling each leg of Santa’s month-long diplomatic Holiday Season visit. These videos will be able to be viewed live, and archived, on the DBA’s Facebook page.

Heidi West (L) of the DBA extends ceremonial greetings to S. Claus of the North Pole

“It’s a HUGE step for us and our members.” noted Heidi West, vice president of the DBA. “But especially this year, we felt it was important to reach out to our loyal customers who have supported us for years, and make a major statement.”

That they did, it says here. But how huge? How major? And how historic? This reporter found the answer to all these questions this afternoon, by asking another…

You don’t see Macy’s doing this, now do you?

King Enterprises is always ready to roll!
Green River Pictures prepares their video van. The ladder truck in front is to be my perch.

One final GPS check from Santa (Pro tip: Rudolph is good, Google Earth is better) and we are cleared for takeoff. As Santa ascends the ladder, he stops and calls out to me…

“Arthur, be sure to remind all the good boys and girls to write me! Their letters to Santa can still be deposited in my mailbox at the cottage in front of Putnam Market, just like it always has been.” Santa noted. “Each day, they are picked up by one of my trusted elves, and I love reading them all!

“And now – ho ho ho – it’s time to go go go!”

Yes indeed, the Jolly One runs a tight ship!

So, before we get to our gallery, a few notes:

  • I would be remiss if I don’t give props to Santa, who was exposed to all kinds of wind chill for 2 1/2 hours this evening! Yes, I know he has a suit, and he lives in the Arctic, blah blah blah – this was a new level of frigid! But he didn’t miss a wave to anyone, nor a beat emceeing the festivities. It was the big game, and he delivered as expected. Kudos!
  • I myself was perched on the back of King’s lead ladder fire truck, in front of Green River’s set-up. And while I was shielded on 3 sides and under a roof – it was still punctuated by several blasts of wind as we meandered around the neighborhood… I think we pulled out of our staging area about 3:50 pm; my feet were gone by 4:15!
  • I was riding backwards, and getting bumped around quite a bit – my fingers were popsicles, but I kept on shooting. So these are not the clearest photos ever taken. But are meant to convey the message poignantly stated by Heidi West after we were done: “Each time I saw a child jumping up and down excited,” she said, “or seniors waving and happy, I didn’t feel the cold because my heart was full of warmth!”

I couldn’t agree more. Enjoy the gallery, and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Arthur Gonick – December 7, 2020

Gallery: Taking it to YOUR Streets!

(Click on any photo to begin carousel.)

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