Santa Claus will once again be coming to town during the leadup to Christmas as he is joining forces with Turlock Fire Incorporated to bring back the popular Santa Firetruck. Beginning Saturday, the Santa Firetruck will make the rounds into Turlock neighborhoods, bringing holiday joy to residents.
Turlock Fire Capt. Frank Saldivar has overseen the Santa Firetruck program since he joined Turlock Fire over 30 years ago. He explained that the program is run and funded entirely through firefighters, and that it’s something that everyone looks forward to.
“Obviously, it’s something that the families and the kids enjoy, but the guys love it too,” Saldivar said. “It’s become a really fun tradition.”
This year, Santa and the truck will head out to different Turlock neighborhoods every day until Dec. 21, beginning his routes at about 6 p.m. The truck typically drives around neighborhoods for two hours.
Saldivar noted that Santa may not be able to make it out of the fire station garage if there is inclement weather such as rain or fog, though, as safety is the fire department’s number one priority.
“We try making it out every day unless we hit weather… It just becomes very dangerous because we're hoping to hand out candy and we don't want children in the roadways or anything like that. And then that makes it hard because we don't want to skip a night, because once we skip a night, it's kind of hard to make it up in the future,” he said.
Additionally, the Santa Firetruck will be unable to drive through col-de-sacs as the vehicle is too big to make sharp turns in the residential neighborhoods.
To find out if Santa will be driving through your neighborhood this holiday season, community members can head to www.cityofturlock.org/firedepartment/aboutus/santatruck. On the website, there is a search bar for browsers to enter a street address, which will then bring up any scheduled dates for when Santa could make a visit.
“It’s an exciting time,” Saldivar said. “We're going to try our best to, to accommodate the areas and to bring joy and happiness to the community.”