Popalis Family History
Friday, November 24, 2007
Pottsville Republican/Evening Herald
A bird? A plane? It?s Santa!
BY LESLIE RICHARDSON
SHENANDOAH ? For the first time in two decades, Santa Claus parachuted into town Friday.
Several hundred ? some who remembered the formerly annual event, along with a new generation of spectators ? gathered in Veterans Stadium to witness the revival of a popular tradition.
?This place will be packed with people who have been waiting for this to return,? Rosie Babarsky said upon her arrival at the stadium.
Babarsky brought her children, who were too young to remember the past jumps.
According to residents, hundreds of people used to gather for the day-after-Thanksgiving spectacle.
?People would line the street, elbow to elbow, waiting,? Babarsky said.
The tradition came to a halt in the late 1980s after an elf, accompanying Santa, went off course and landed on a spectator.
?Santa has visited Shenandoah for as long as I can remember, but for the last 20 years he hasn?t been able to parachute in,? Tom Twardzik, president of Mrs. T?s Pierogies, which sponsored the event, said Friday. ?The police department parade and the visit with Santa at the Damato Post have always been in place. We are thrilled that the Shenandoah Valley school board was able to give us a chance to use the field. It will be safer for everyone.?
Mike and Gina Ross, Lansdale, brought their niece, Hannah Northey, 7, of Mahanoy City, to see the event they remember so well from their childhood.
?Every year we went to the Acme parking lot to see Santa parachute into town,? Mike said.
?Then we went to get a candy cane from Santa,? Gina said.
?We are home for the holiday ... and this was definitely on our list of things to do,? Mike Ross said.
Exactly at noon an airplane droned overhead and a cheer rose from the bleachers.
The plane circled the field, then climbed to an altitude from which Santa could make his jump. Spectators strained their necks and shielded their eyes from the sun trying to glimpse the bearded skydiver. Another cheer rang out when a tiny speck of red appeared high above the field.
Santa wiggled his black patent leather boots as he cruised over the bleachers and onto the football field, landing almost exactly on the bright orange target spread out on the 50-yard line.
After removing his parachute, Santa climbed onto a borough fire truck for his grand escort into town.
The Shenandoah Valley High School marching band led the parade of fire trucks and marchers onto Stadium Road and then onto West Coal, Vine, Lloyd, Jardin, Oak and finally onto to Main Street where Santa made his stop at the Damato Post on North Main.
He visited with a line of children that went out the door and stretched to the corner.
According to Shenandoah police Officer William Moyer, an event organizer, each child received a coloring book, compliments of the Shenandoah Area Chamber of Commerce, and candy provided by the police department.
?The REPUBLICAN & Herald 2007
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