The Tolland Fire Department and Permanent Celebration Committee are gearing up for another year of holiday celebrations, but they could use some help.
Tolland firefighter Jeffrey Ruest said that Santa is looking for candy donations for his through Tolland. Santa traditionally gives out candy during the tour and accepts donated toys to give to local children.
Ruest said that Santa, being so generous, can rack up a bit of a price tag for his trip.
"We typically go through about $800-$1,000," Ruest said, clarifying that the celebrations are run strictly on donations and not tax payer money.
Anyone who has extra Halloween candy or any local stores with extra candy stock can lessen the financial burden by helping Santa out with donations. To find out more about donating candy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's tour will be extra special because it marks the tenth anniversary of Santa's annual journey through all of Tolland. To commemorate, the Permanent Celebration Committee's will be held the same day as the fire department's Torch Light parade, Saturday, November 26.
According to Ruest, the tree lighting ceremony begins at 4 p.m. with an appearance from Santa and some holiday carols. Refreshments will be served and admission is free, but residents are asked to make a cash or non-perishable food donation to the Tolland Food Pantry.
The parade, featuring decorated firetrucks from surrounding towns like Enfield, North Windam, Columbia, Vernon, West Stafford and Staffordville, kicks off at 5 p.m. at Lions Field.
Santa's Holiday Lights tour is scheduled to start on December 2 on Gehring Road, according to the schedule posted on the Tolland Fire Department Web site. Ruest said that residents can pick up maps of Santa's route at , , and the Citgo station across from the Fire Training Center. Santa is also being tracked online by GPS, so residents can see exactly when he's arriving on their street.
"People come running out with their laptops," Ruest said.
The department is also sponsoring a Best Decorated House in Tolland competition this year. Residents can nominate their own home or that of a neighbor at email@example.com. The winner will receive a special visit from Santa and an award for their accomplishment.
Although the annual festivities create a lot of work, Ruest said that the magic of the Tolland holiday season makes it all worthwhile.
"It adds spirit to the holiday season," Ruest said. "To see the kids get to see Santa, their hands are shaking, they're dropping the candy. It's definitely pretty cool."
Residents who would like to donate a toy during the festivities should donate new, unwrapped toys. For more information on the tree lighting celebration, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To keep track of Santa's route or for details on the parade, visit the the Tolland Fire Department Web site or the tour's Facebook page.