Instead of sitting on a fire truck for this year’s Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View (SBM) Fire Department food drive holiday parade, Santa Claus will be able to ride on his own sleigh.
The sleigh will be complete with nine reindeer — Rudolph is included — and will be on a gooseneck trailer being pulled by a pick-up truck, according to SBM volunteer firefighter Jeff Frahm.
The reindeer are elevated on a metal frame so it looks like they are flying up into the sky. From the first reindeer to the back of the sleigh, the whole thing is 35 feet long.
The parades begin at 6:30 p.m. each evening and take place Monday (Dec. 3) in western Blaine, Tuesday (Dec. 4) in eastern Blaine, Wednesday (Dec. 5) in Mounds View and Thursday (Dec. 6) in Spring Lake Park. The parade route is the same as last year and can be found at www.sbmfire.com.
Everyone is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation for the food shelf.
Having a sleigh and reindeer for Santa in this parade was an idea that came up during a community needs committee meeting, Frahm said. This committee is run by the fire department and seeks projects like this food drive parade coming up next week to help people in need.
There was interest in upgrading Santa’s seating arrangement from a lawn chair perched on the top of a fire engine to a sleigh pulled by reindeer.
Frahm volunteered to lead this project and said the committee “gave him full rein” to get this done and what was done is “a beast of a sleigh,” Frahm said.
“It turned out just the way I pictured it in my head,” Frahm said, although he admitted that the project took a lot longer than he anticipated. He presented the design at an Aug. 19 committee meeting, started the fabrication in mid-September and recently wrapped up the project.
Frahm credited his wife for being so patient and included her as a project coordinator at one point.
There were many hands behind the scenes that made this possible. Approximately 20 artistic students at Blaine and Spring Lake Park high schools chipped in by tracing the outlines of the reindeer and then painting them after Frahm cut out the reindeer shapes and gave each a brown coat of paint.
The Lowe’s store in Blaine donated material for the reindeer and the sled itself, which Frahm built with a bit of help from other firefighters at Fire Station No. 3.
Do not be surprised to see Santa on his sleigh with his reindeers at other community events throughout the year, Frahm said. He may be at one or both of next year’s Anoka Halloween parades. Santa may even escape the frigid North Pole for the warmth of Blaine during the city’s community festival. The float can be taken apart and put into storage so it can last for many years to come.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org