BONNERS FERRY — A brilliant parade of fire engines, decked out in an array of Christmas lights, took a special guest, Santa Claus, from fire station to fire station on the evening of Dec. 8.
The journey began at the closing of the Naples Holiday Festival where Santa performed the tree lighting ceremony. Santa climbed into the new South Boundary Fire Engine and the caravan set out for Paradise Fire station. He transferred part way there into the Paradise Valley Fire engine.
The Paradise Valley Fire station had a room full of people, with eager children awaiting Santa’s arrival. There was a table adorned with plates of cookies and hot drinks were available. Children and firefighters alike took turns on Santa’s lap.
Santa then climbed aboard the Bonners Ferry Fire engine and the lighted procession traveled down to the city fire station where a grill was set up, providing hot dogs and chili. The last stop of the trip was North Bench Fire station that had a large craft table for the children to enjoy, as well as a photo backdrop for Santa, so parents could take pictures of him with their children.
Along with Santa, Frosty the Snowman and elves also assisted and entertained the children. At North Bench, a different character came out, a dinosaur, delighting many of the children and eliciting laughter from the adults.
This marks the fourth year that Santa has embarked on the colorful journey with the fire stations, known as Santa’s Chariots of Fire.
“Santa’s Chariots of Fire was a good add onto the Festival,” said South Boundary Fire Chief Tony Rohrwasser. “A few years ago some of the other fire departments came down with their trucks to help with rides.”
They adapted the festival times to be able to get darker skies to help Santa light the Community Christmas tree. Then they decided to travel to the other stations so kids that weren’t able to go to the festival had a second option to talk to Santa and to see the trucks lit up.
For Santa, he always enjoys his time in Boundary County.
“It is such a pleasure to see the smile on the kids’ faces when they get the chance to tell Santa what they want,” he said.