For the past 60 years, Santa Claus has greeted children at the , where they sat on his knee and told them what they want for Christmas.
But each year this holiday festivity has grown in size, and on Saturday, about 150 kids and their parents eagerly awaited Santa’s arrival. The firehouse was decorated with festive tables of homemade cookies, apple cider, and coffee, organized by the Ladies Auxiliary. Nearby were popcorn and cotton candy machines. There were even some arts and crafts on hand, with a “Spin Art” machine for kids to pour paint into and create fun Christmas cards. There was also a huge, inflatable bouncy castle for kids to jump on.
Christine Schnell, president of the Ladies Auxiliary, said her group has been preparing for this day by making the cookies and setting everything up. “We are here to support the firemen, and this is one of our best times of the year,” she said. “We love entertaining the kids and their families.”
She added that the Ladies Auxiliary has been collecting historic documents and photos from past members of the fire department to put into scrapbooks as a history of the department.
One parent, Chief Jason Walter, was there with his two children, and their friend, who were eating cotton candy on a stick. “My kids love this event,” he said. “I’m trying to keep them entertained 'till Santa gets here.”
It was now almost 1 p.m., and Santa was due to arrive any moment for this afternoon event. “There’s no telling how he’ll come here,” said First Assistant Chief John McDonald. “He has come by firetruck, by helicopter, and one year, he dive-bombed into the parking lot.”
About 20 minutes later, a scuffling noise was heard outside, and suddenly the large garage doors of the firehouse opened wide, and in walked a large, jolly Santa. , of , wore the red suit.
“Ho ho ho, and away we go!!” he yelled as he waved and smiled to all the kids lined up to see him.
Coast Guard Chief Jason Walter’s son, Luke, 8, said he wanted an iPod. Another little girl said she wanted a puppy. Santa chatted and posed for photos with the children for about two hours. He also handed each child a stocking filled with toys and candy.
After all the kids had their turn with him, he walked back out to his bright red fire truck and took a spin around Montauk to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.