North Wales holds hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tion

North Penn Life - - Opinion - By Michael Gold­berg mgold­berg@jour­nalregis­ter .com

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.

Photo by MICHAEL GOLD­BERG

North Wales Com­mu­nity Project Al­liance Pres­i­dent Pam Romeo, right, helps make hol­i­day ha­los dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties.

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