NEWBURYPORT -- This may be the only city where Santa is known to come to town by boat, by fire truck, and by air.
Santa Claus is expected to arrive here today the old-fashioned way -- he’s flying. But the reindeer are taking a break. He’s expected to come in via helicopter.
Leaders of a group called Friends of Flying Santa, Inc. say Santa and his party will be choppered in to the Coast Guard station on Water Street Saturday at about 3 p.m. Santa will bring gifts and cheer to the men, women and families of the United States Coast Guard stationed in Newburyport. The event is not open to the public.
Organizers said today’s snowstorm will probably not cancel the event, however if the weather proves to be too precarious, Santa may have to stay home.
The drive to supply personnel dedicated to making safe the oceanside was started in 1929, when flyers would descend on lighthouses throughout New England.
The Friends of Flying Santa, Inc. was founded in 1997, with an emphasis on supporting members and families of the Coast Guard. Today, the Friends will focus on Coast Guard personnel and family.
But if residents see a helicopter hovering over the river with an overweight crimson-costumed gift giver on board, it might be Santa.
This is the third known mode of transportation for Santa’s Newburyport visits. On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, he arrives on the city docks by Coast Guard boat, and is then transported through downtown Newburyport in a carriage for the annual Rotary Club Santa Parade and treelighting. Next week, on Dec. 22, the Newburyport Fire Department will escort him through the streets of the city on a fire truck, starting at 4 p.m.