Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Chris Boyle.
With the blaring of sirens and the jingling of bells, jolly old Saint Nick himself made his way through the streets of Bellmore via a caravan of fire trucks last week as a time-honored tradition arrived once again- the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Santa Run.
Every year, on the day after Thanksgiving, the Chamber, in partnership with the Bellmore Fire Department and the Bellmore Movie Theater, holds this fun and festive event to usher in the holiday season and show local kids a great time, said Chamber member Joe Verdi.
“It’s our way of giving back to the community and thanking them for their support for the local businesses,” Verdi said. “The Fire Department has been fantastic. Naturally, they supply the fire trucks, and the last two years the North Bellmore Fire Department has joined in, so we had two Bellmore fire trucks followed by a North Bellmore fire truck for the whole route.”
The Santa Run started promptly at 9 a.m. Friday morning, with Santa Claus himself making stops at several local area locations to greet the children of the Bellmores. His journey finally came to an end at the Bellmore Fire Department on Petit Avenue, where excited kids and their parents filed into the Bellmore Movie Theater next door to meet Santa, receive some treats and presents, and take in a free showing of the family film Hotel Transylvania.
In addition, families were encouraged to bring unwrapped toys as a donation to less fortunate children this holiday season.
President Debby Izzo spoke about the Chamber’s role in this popular annual tradition, which drew a line of children that nearly went out the door of the theater this year.
“We sponsor the event,” she said. “We paid for the movie and little give-outs for the children. The movie theater is nice enough to open their doors to the Chamber at a reduced rate so that we can supply this for our neighbors.”
Lisa Maggio was one of many mothers dragged out of bed early Friday morning by jubilant kids desperate to sit on Santa’s lap and divulge their present wishes for Christmas.
“The kids are excited to see Santa and about starting the season,” Maggio said. “They look forward to this event every year.”
Maggio’s daughter, Nicole, was clearly quite taken with the idea of meeting Saint Nick.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting Santa...I’ve been looking forward to this all year,” Nicole said. “I’m going to ask him for an iPad. I’ve been good so I hope he brings it to me this year.”
Jeri Grieco was at the event with her so, and expressed her appreciation for the work the Chamber puts into it every year.
“This would be our third Santa Run,” she said. “It’s great...the kids all get excited, and it’s a good way to start off the holiday weekend since there’s no school, and then having the movie afterwards makes it a great afternoon for the family.”
Her son, Matthew, elected not to meet Santa this year; he said that Santa already knew what he wanted.
“I already wrote him a letter and mailed it to him,” Matthew said. “I asked him for Star Wars Lego stuff, so I didn’t want to take up his time from the other kids.”
Did you attend the Santa run? What did you think of it? Tell us in the comments below.