MARIETTA - A Christmas tradition for more than half a century, the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department made its annual Santa Run in Oak Grove and surrounding areas Sunday afternoon.
Every year Santa Claus boards a fire truck that carries the old elf from home to home where he visits with area children and hands out treats.
Three of Diane and Mick Sullivan's grandchildren, including Bradley Mace, 9, and 4-year-old twins Avery and Jackson Fisher, met Santa in front of their home on Waterford Road.
Photo by Sam Shawver
Six-year-old Julia Malone shakes hands with Santa Claus as sister Baylee, 9, heads off to show their parents what the jolly old elf brought during the Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Santa Run on Sunday afternoon.
"We usually get a couple of our grandkids and bring them out to the house so they can meet Santa every year," Diane Sullivan said. "They've been looking forward to this for two days now - that's about all they've been talking about."
Nearby Julia Malone, 6, and her sister, Baylee, 9, hailed Santa from the end of their driveway along Waterford Road.
"I want some reindeer antlers for my head," Julia told Santa.
"I asked him for pixie dust to make me fly," Baylee added. "I really want to fly."
Mom Jessica Malone said this is the girls' second year on the Santa Run.
"We really wanted to move out here - everyone seems to watch out for one another," she said. "And the girls look forward to this each year."
Up on Pineview Circle, Brian and Christy Chavez said they've been living in the area for five years now.
"This was a big surprise for us the first year," Brian said of the Santa Run, noting the fire truck's lights and siren brought everyone out of the house to see what was going on.
"Now the boys watch for Santa every year," he said.
Oak Grove firefighter Shaun Harris, 33, said the Santa Run has been a great community event for the volunteer fire department for many years.
"The department did this when I was a kid, too," he said. "We always came out to our grandparents' home where I'd meet Santa and tell him what I wanted for Christmas."
Harris said back then Santa rode on the back of the fire truck, hopping down to meet children at every stop. Now he sits more comfortably in the vehicle's front seat.
"Times have changed, but we still try to hit every street in Oak Grove and visit as many kids as possible who live in the surrounding countryside," he said.