Santa Paula Times

Santa will fly over Santa Paula Christmas Eve

December 21, 2005
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesAfter some pretty heavy negotiations with the North Pole Santa Claus will be making Santa Paula a rare, highly visible fly over during his world tour on Christmas Eve, according to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.“You can see that our negotiations with the North Pole have been successful and Santa will be making a formal appearance in Santa Paula for the first time in years,” Bobkiewicz said Monday.Although the negotiations have been ongoing for months the terms are secret, noted Bobkiewicz although “Whatever it takes to bring Santa Claus to Santa Paula we’ll do...”Although all boys and girls know that Santa is usually seen as a wisp or smoke, kissing Mommy, dipping into the cookies and milk or just as a flash of red and white - accompanied by a hearty “Ho-Ho-Ho!” - and the tiny hooves of reindeers disappearing into the distant night sky, Santa has been known to do a reconnaissance fly over earlier on Christmas Eve.For that early ride he leaves Rudolph and the other reindeer home and opts instead for a high-tech ride over portions of Ventura County courtesy of Aspen Helicopters, Inc., based at the Oxnard Airport.Charles McLauglin of Aspen Helicopter said that Santa would probably fly over the city around 7 p.m. on Saturday night, give or take 15 minutes or so either way.McLaughlin has a special Santa in Lights helicopter specially built for the Man with All the Toys patterned after one constructed by a friend in Montana.“Gerhard Blaine had the idea and built one up in Helena,” and McLaughlin copied the design.The helicopter resembles a sleigh and is about 15 feet high and about 40 feet long.
Santa in Lights has been flying over Ventura County for about 24 years noted McLaughlin, primarily over the western portion.“We’ll be squeezing in Santa Paula that will probably be our limit,” on the loop that includes Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Camarillo, Saticoy and Ventura.“It takes about an hour and a half to an hour and forty-five minutes to do the whole loop,” which starts with the 6 p.m. take off.The flight of course hinges on weather permitting: “High winds or rains, Santa takes the evening off,” said McLaughlin.The historic Downtown Business District sports banners with Santa’s famous face - Santa Paula after all claims a moniker link to Old St. Nick emphasized each Christmas season - and merchants have gone out of their way to feature an array of Christmas bargains and other goodies for holiday shoppers.“Do I believe in Santa Claus? Maybe...” said Mayor Rick Cook. “Well, actually, yes, I do...that’s why I’ll have all my granddaughters there Christmas Eve night so we can watch Santa fly over from our deck. I think it’s a great thing for the valley for Santa to come to us” for the friendly fly over.Cook added that he hopes Santa “does have a chance to stop and talk...I’ve only seen him fly over late at night,” in the sleigh. “When I was a Santa Paula police officer I used to hear the announcement over the scanner that he was in the area and now I get to see him. It’s great that he’s coming to visit.”Cook plans on being prepared but Santa won’t be greeted with an official proclamation: “I’ll have cookies and milk out for the granddaughters, the family and for Santa,” said Cook.