8FireSanta

RANGELEY – Throngs of bright-faced toddlers and their parents flocked into the colorfully-decorated bays of the Rangeley Fire Station last Saturday for the Fire Department’s 14th annual Christmas party. Fire Chief Tim Pellerin estimated the crowd at 200 grownups and 150 kids during the two-hour fest.

A long table of cookies and snacks prepared by the Ladies’ Auxiliary provided fuel for the celebration, and a crafts table staffed by volunteers from the community encouraged kids to make their own ornaments.

 

Santa Claus himself was on hand with one of his elves to preside over the distribution of hundreds of toys, and to hear Christmas wishes from the kids. When asked if he was in flying trim for Christmas Eve, Santa said he’s put on about 100 extra pounds, which could cause problems for the reindeer. “But I’m getting plenty of exercise with Rangeley Fire Department activities,” he added,  “so I should be in good shape by then.”

 

The Department even provided batteries for the toys that required them. “Though we don’t hand out the batteries until they leave,” said firefighter/medic Harold Schaetzle. “If we do it earlier, the toys are zipping all over the floor and creating a dangerous traffic hazard.”

 

Captain Brian Ellis said that the party began 14 years ago, organized by Clyde Chapman and his wife Carol, who moved to Rangeley from Westbrook, where they had hosted Christmas parties for 33 years. Money for the toys comes from the Department’s bottle-and-can recycling stations. Ellis said the proceeds also fund two $500 scholarships that are awarded each year to Rangeley High School seniors.

 

Tina Falasco, one of the parents at the party, said, “I am very grateful and amazed at what a wonderful job the Fire Department does with this event.”

 

Chief Pellerin said that the party gets larger every year, and more enjoyable. “This is really our Christmas for the guys,” he added. “They love the kids, and the community spirit.”


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