TARPON SPRINGS — Santa Claus is coming (back) to town. Again and again, actually.
The jolly one was seen traveling throughout Tarpon Springs neighborhoods again, making his last rounds before his big night next Wednesday.
In a joint effort between the North Pole and Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue, Santa’s been touring the city for about a decade now, Fire Chief Rick Butcher said.
“This is very well-received throughout the entire community,” he said. “We always get a lot of phone calls from people wanting to know where it is.”
To complete the eight days of tours, the department hooks Santa up with one of its backup fire engines, fully decked out with lights and a PA system pumping out Christmas tunes. The annual event culminates this year with an event with Santa at Fire Station 69 from 6–8 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 19.
Kris Kringle displayed his never-ending supply of holiday spirit by extending the tour to eight days, up from the scheduled seven. Monday’s swing through the streets was completed after inclement weather cut short one of last week’s dates.
Butcher said Santa’s trips throughout the city have become one of the holiday season’s anticipated happenings.
“As it’s caught on, people are more accustomed to finding out when their neighborhood is on the schedule and they’ll actually congregate at different houses or intersections.”
As it was Monday, people can often be seen chasing after the Santa-toting engine as other firefighters are helping hand out candy canes and other goodies.
Adding to the tours’ appeal is its wide-ranging appeal, Butcher said. “The kids all love it but a lot of the adults do, too. We go through many of the mobile home parks along the routes and some are the 55-and-up parks. I can tell you they enjoy it just as much as the kids.”