CLYDE - Winesburg Christmas Weekend is bringing back a Clyde holiday tradition during this year's Dec. 4-6 celebration. With the assistance of the Clyde Firefighters, The Bellevue Hospital, the Fultz family and the Winesburg Committee, Santa Claus again is to greet children at the fire station in downtown Clyde.
In years prior to the Santa Parade that began more than a decade ago, the Clyde Firefighters brought Santa into town riding on a fire truck in early December. Santa Claus then met with hundreds of children in the North Main Street fire house handing out bags of goodies to youngsters.
Winesburg Chairwoman Becky Brooks said the tradition ended as the Santa Parade grew in popularity and fewer and fewer children visited the firehouse event a week or two after the annual parade.
"This year, Kendra Fultz contacted the Clyde Business & Professional Association and asked if the firehouse visit could be added back into Winesburg Weekend," Brooks said.
Clyde Fire Chief Paul Fiser agreed to open the firehouse after the 2009 Santa Parade at 5 p.m. Dec. 5. Brooks said Duke and Kendra Fultz are to provide 1,000 bags of goodies for visiting children. Children at St. Mary School are to pack the bags for Santa's visit.
This year Santa is to be in the Clyde Santa House Saturday afternoon, Dec. 5, ride in the 5 p.m. Santa Parade on Main Street, and go directly to the fire station after the parade.
The Bellevue Hospital is sponsoring Santa's visit to Clyde during Winesburg Weekend and on Saturdays in December.
Kendra Fultz said bringing Santa back to the firehouse is returning to a family tradition for her and her husband, Duke.
"Duke's grandpa Frank (former fire chief) was the one who originally started it," she said about Santa arriving by firetruck. "It was always a tradition that I think every child in Clyde looked forward to. When that fire siren sounded, you could see the spark in the kids eyes. They knew Santa was near!" she said. "I remember, because I was one of those kids."
Fultz recalled the year she and her sister were too ill to see Santa at the fire house. They cried when they heard the siren. Mike Andrews was playing the Santa role and noticed the two girls' absence. Later, he came to the door of their home to deliver a goody bag to each girls.
"Those two individuals made memories for the local kids," Fultz said. "We felt it was appropriate for the Fultz family to bring back a tradition very dear to our hearts, and hope to build memories for others."
For more Winesburg Weekend events, visit www.clydebpa.org