He wants your smiles. He wants your letters!
Yes, Santa Claus is coming to your neighborhood on his vintage firetruck to visit your block parties and high-five the kids. Perhaps your village or organization would like to join the fun and enter your float this year?
Santa’s “Pre-Flight” Parade returns to Westchase on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2-8 p.m. The event culminates in the annual Tree Lighting ceremony on Montague Street in West Park Village upon Santa’s arrival at approximately 8 p.m. Holiday music and activities including Davidson middle school’s jazz band and orchestra will start in West Park Village Town Center at approximately 6 p.m.
WOW is proud to help make this event possible through a donation of $5,000 to cover its costs.
Help Santa Help Others
Most important, Santa wants your help! To help make his visit to Westchase extra special, he hopes you will be Santa Claus to some less fortunate kids. Along his parade route Santa will collect unwrapped gifts for the Boys and Girls Club and Metropolitan Ministries to be donated to many families in need of assistance this holiday season. Santa and his helpers hope to collect new and unwrapped toys, games, books and bikes.
Each year Santa parades through Westchase in an event organized by Dan and Brandon O’Brien, Ralph Caputo, Santa and other volunteers from the Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF). Since 2004 The WCF, a volunteer organization of Westchase residents, has provided over $500,000 to assist families with seriously ill children and families faced with tragedies. Residents interested in participating in the parade by putting together a float can still contact parade organizers Ralph Caputo at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brandon O’Brien at email@example.com.
Residents hoping to track Santa’s progress through Westchase can do so through their smartphones and computers. Simply save the following link, http://glympse.com/!westchasesanta, to your phone or your computer and click on it at noon on Saturday, Dec. 14.
While you are encouraged to click on the link at noon, the cursor marking Santa’s whereabouts won’t become active until roughly 2 p.m., the parade’s official start time.
Greens Neighbors Issue Parade Challenge
Meanwhile, as part of the parade’s fun and toy drive, your Westchase neighbors in Greenpointe are challenged you to a friendly competition during Santa’s Pre-Flight Parade.
Greenpointe residents started a tradition in 2017 and collected 14 bikes the first year for the parade’s toy drive. Some of our neighbors in Greendale attended the Greenpointe driveway party. They took the idea and followed suit in 2018. In 2018, Greenpointe doubled their 2017 output and collected 28 bikes while our friends in Greendale collected 22 bikes.
Now the friendly competition is on! That’s 50 bikes that made Christmas morning bright for 50 children. Both neighborhoods collected several bags of toys as well.
Greenpointe resident Paul Mason said, “While that bike will start as fun for a child, it can become transportation to and from school, sports practices, activities, and part time jobs. I envision this becoming bigger every year and it could become an annual event like the canned food/turkey drive at Thanksgiving for Metropolitan Ministries.”
Mason encourages all Westchasers to embrace the bike challenge and donate a bike so that your subdivision can outcompete the two Greens neighborhoods. Those who cannot contribute bikes, are still encouraged to donate toys, batteries, cash, gift cards to the drive.
“Our children are blessed to live in such a wonderful neighborhood as Westchase,” said Mason. “Let’s continue to make those less fortunate Christmas and holidays a little brighter.”
Parade organizers will need to know if your neighborhood is donating a significant amount of bikes and toys to ensure they have enough storage on Santa’s sleigh. They can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Thanks in advance and happy holidays, Westchase!
Where will Santa’s firetruck and his parade travel?
Check the street map running in this month’s issue of WOW. The highlighted roads in red indicate the parade route. The length of the route and time it takes Santa to travel it makes it very difficult to add roads.
From experience, parade staff have also learned that certain roads, particularly narrow ones in West Park Village with their street parking, make it nearly impossible for the parade to pass.
Residents are encouraged to follow the Santa tracker and greet Santa on the nearest road as he passes.
All residents are invited to attend the tree lighting in West Park Village at approximately 8 p.m. There Santa will get down from the truck, light the tree and greet the families who are gathered.
By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Cover and Interior Feature Photos by James Broome Photography