By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - A Shenandoah tradition for decades, area residents welcomed Santa, his elves, and the Christmas season on Black Friday at Veteran's Memorial Stadium, as Santa's crew parachuted onto the snowy football field, before parading through the borough on an antique fire engine.
The annual skydive is sponsored by Ateeco, Inc., Shenandoah, makers of Mrs. T's Pierogies, and has been held for 12 years under their sponsorship. The event was previously held by the Greater Shenandoah Area Chamber of Commerce years prior, and was discontinued.
Area residents bundled up and braved freezing temperatures to welcome Santa and his elves. Mrs. Claus entertained children from the ground, and Mrs. T's own elves provided face painting.
A concession stand, manned by the Shenandoah Jr. Blue Devil Football organization, served hot chocolate and cookies as well.
Prior to the event, Ateeco President Tom Twardzik extended thanks to all involved in putting the event together.
Despite icy field conditions, Santa and his elves landed safely, though one elf slid upon landing.
Following the skydive, Santa boarded the Polish American Fire Company's antique Seagrave, decked out in Christmas decorations, and, accompanied by area children, paraded through the borough.
Led by the Shenandoah Police Department and Shenandoah Valley Marching Band, the parade left the stadium via Coal Street to Vine. From there, the parade proceeded to Centre, then up to the center of town at Main and Centre, before concluding at the A.P. Damato Post.
Following Santa were apparatus from Shenandoah's five fire companies, as well as the Heights Fire Company, Shenandoah Ambulance, and Frackville Ambulance.
At the parade's conclusion, Santa met with children at the Damato Post, where the children let him know what they wanted for Christmas.
Photos were taken, and the children were provided with a coloring book, courtesy of the Greater Shenandoah Area Chamber of Commerce, and candy, courtesy of the Shenandoah Police Department.
A full photo gallery will be posted soon.