Wellington seekers after Santa Claus are especially lucky. A visit to the jolly old fellow in their town also includes a tour of fire trucks housed at the Wellington Fire Department and a chance to meet real live firefighters. Though it’s pretty much a secret, the word is that Santa Claus doubles as a firefighter during the rest of the year.
His “other name” is Richard Bailey but this time of year he goes by another name. Talking with the children who come to see him is a great pleasure, he says. “I just love the look on their faces. It really doesn’t matter what they say.”
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Now and then a small visitor is a little wary of such big fat man with such a long white beard. Blonde, curly-haired Jaxon Crane, two-and-a-half, wasn’t at all sure he wanted to sit on this guy’s lap. His mom wished for “only one picture with Santa,” and it took some doing.
Captain Everitt Pettit, in charge of organizing Santa Day at the fire station on Saturday, Dec. 19 remembers the event as a kid growing up in Wellington. Santa once rode all around town on a fire truck before taking his place at the fire station to listen to kid requests. These days he travels through town prior to the chili supper the fire station sponsors in early December.
Pettit says that Santa Day has been a Wellington tradition for well over a half-century and remains alive and well despite competition from lots of other events during the last weekend before Christmas.
Savanna Little handed each child a goody bag after their visit with Santa. Then the children moved into the garage that houses all big fire engines, set up with tables and chairs especially for them. They were invited to enjoy cookies and hot chocolate and check out the fire engines one by one.
Fortunately for Santa and his visitors, there was clean white snow on the ground and the sun was shining brightly for Santa Day at the Wellington Fire Station.