By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - Eleven Years Ago, Tom Twardzik, President and Owner of Mrs T's Pierogies, resurrected a Shenandoah tradition - the Santa Drop.
Today, the event serves as the unofficial kickoff of the holiday season for northern Schuylkill County.
"This is our Black Friday Tradition," Twardzik said at the event. "Families are together for the Thanksgiving holiday, so they can just come down here (to Veterans Memorial Stadium)"
Prior to Santa's arrival, Mrs. Claus, a reindeer, and a snowman entertained children, while a face painting stand was set up.
As the Cessna 172 carrying Santa flew overhead, T-102 Radio's Dave Smith announced updates and narrated the arrival.
Santa and three elves parachuted into the football field, and climbed aboard the Polish American Fire Company's 1954 Seagrave fire engine as the Shenandoah Christmas Parade began.
The parade, led by the Shenandoah Police Department and Shenandoah Valley High School Band, left the stadium via West Coal Street, turned at North Vine, proceeded to West Centre, traveled up the hill to North Main, to the parade's end point at the Damato Post.
There, Santa went inside the post, where children could meet and take photos with him, and each received a chocolate-filled candy cane.
Also participating in the parade were four of Shenandoah's five fire companies - Rescue, Hook & Ladder; Columbia; Phoenix; and Polish American - two West Mahanoy Township fire companies - William Penn and Shenandoah Heights - and Shenandoah Community Ambulance.