For Turlock residents, Santa Claus really is coming to town.
From Dec. 1 to 20, Santa – with the help of Turlock Firefighters Local #2434 – will be driving through Turlock neighborhoods to wish area residents a Merry Christmas. Listen carefully for the sirens and Christmas music to catch this holiday miracle.
When the rounds first started several years ago, Turlock was much smaller. Nowadays, the city has gotten so large that not every street can be visited. If a day must be skipped due to weather, they hope to make up the day on either Dec. 21, 22, or 23. Makeup days will be posted on their Facebook, www.facebook.com/IAFFlocal2434 .
“Its probably one of the biggest programs we have,” said Frank Saldivar, Turlock Fire Captain. “This one has been around so long with so many generations of families. They remember when they were kids— they go ‘this is something as a kid we used to watch and they get to see what we saw.’ It’s kind of hard to just not do it anymore.”
This special event is funded wholly by the firefighters. Not only do they need to keep the fire engine maintained and running smoothly so they can make the drive every day, they purchase candy and update the sound system.
“It gets the community together,” said Saldivar about the drive’s importance. “They look forward to it every year when it comes through. It gets the neighborhoods together. We’ll do a whole block and they’ll be all out waiting.”
Saldivar went on to say that if they do see a large group, they’ll happily slow or stop for pictures – and to adequately pass out candy.
Routes will ideally run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. nightly, to make sure that the children of Turlock will still be awake to see Santa.
To check Santa’s schedule, visit www.ci.turlock.ca.us/citydepartments/firedepartment/decembersantatours/ or call Fire Administration at (209) 668-5580 for more information.