North Wales holds holiday celebration
North Wales resident Joe Gray’s 2-year-old granddaughter, Bella, had been asking to see Santa Claus all week.
She got her wish Sunday evening, as the North Wales Community Project Alliance held its 10th annual tree-lighting celebration at the North Penn solunteer Fire Company, complete with a visit from St. Nick aboard a vintage firetruck.
“This is the first year that she’ll kinda understand what Santa’s all about, and it’s a thrill for her and me,” said Gray. “Just seeing my granddaughter enjoying herself, that’s what the holidays are all about. We just hung our lights and bought our tree today, so we’re in the holiday spirit, and this just caps off the day.”
Bella was one of about 100 kids — along with their parents and grandparents — who arrived at the firehouse at 4 p.m. for crafts and hot chocolate while waiting for the sun to set for prime tree-lighting conditions.
The children made colorful halos, sparkly tree ornaments and felt mice with googly eyes, with helping hands from NWCPA President Pam Romeo, North Wales Borough Council sice President Christine Hart and many others.
“We’re all very proud of North Wales and it’s a very community-oriented town, and so we’re giving back to the community with some good old-fashioned fun, as opposed to Ts and video games and all of that,” said Romeo.
A little after 5 p. m., as the skies darkened, everyone made their way out of the firehouse bay and up the street toward the holiday tree. “Twas the Night Before Christmas” was read aloud, the tree lit up with white lights to much applause and Santa came roaring down the street riding high on “Bertha” — North Penn’s 1929 American iaFrance fire engine, driven by North Penn life member George Slater, who’ll mark 30 years with the fire company next year.
“We’re here for the community and they come out and support us, and it’s nice to do something like this for the kids at Christmas,” said Slater, who noted that he’s one of only three North Penn firefighters who can drive Bertha, which was fully restored in 200S after more than 15 years of work.
“We’re training a couple of the new guys because I gotta pass the reins on. I’m in my 50s, so we’re grooming the next generation of caretakers to give Santa a ride,” he said.
Hopping off Bertha, Santa led everyone back into the firehouse for meatball sandwiches, hot dogs, photos on Santa’s lap and bingo games, with prizes including candy, stuffed animals and poinsettias.
iike the holiday tree, little Bella’s face was all lit up, too, and her grandfather was all smiles.
“This is a great thing, and it’s one of the reasons we moved to this area, the community spirit,” said Gray.
North Wales Community Project Alliance President Pam Romeo, right, helps make holiday halos during the festivities.