By Connor Linskey
The Vision of Wallkill, the Town of Shawangunk and the Wallkill Fire Department and several other entities put on a drive-thru Christmas on Sunday, providing children with treat bags and the chance to meet Santa Claus.
Throughout the hour-long event there was a steady line of cars. Over 75 children received treat bags, which included painted Wallkill Rocks and an arts and craft project. Hanukkah bags were also distributed to Jewish children. Many children also brought letters to Santa Claus.
“Parents and children were thrilled to drive-thru to see Santa, to be warm and comfortable in their car or truck as they listened to holiday music,” the Vision of Wallkill wrote on it’s Facebook page.
This year’s Christmas celebration was far different than previous ones. The event is usually kicked off with a tree lighting at 4 p.m. The Walker Valley Marching Band would play as well as local resident Tony Martino. There was even a petting zoo some years. Children had a chat with Santa Claus on his lap at town hall before eating a feast of treats. After they calmed down from eating sweets, children participated in an arts and crafts project.
“We talked with the Shawangunk Town Board and we just felt that with the circumstances of the virus, that it just wasn’t safe for the community, especially so close to the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays,” said Vision of Wallkill President Donna Barczak. “So Vision of Wallkill said let’s just do a drive-thru and we came up with it that way instead.”
Many Town of Shawangunk residents worked together to make this year’s event possible. The Wallkill Hook, Ladder and Hose Co. provided traffic control and fire trucks. The Wallkill Woman’s Club made homemade brownies and cookies for the treat bags. Wallkill Bodyshop, the Town of Shawangunk Republican Committee and the Town of Shawangunk Democrats donated candy canes as well as other sweet treats and gift bags. The Town of Shawangunk Highway Department put lights and decorations on the town tree, put up the town menorah as well as the wreaths in the hamlet. The Shawangunk Town Board, Tree Lighting Committee and Vision of Wallkill members packed treat bags and prepared signage.
“Vision of Wallkill very much appreciates Santa being able to come to Wallkill during a very busy time for him and the North Pole,” the Vision of Wallkill wrote on their Facebook page. “Thank you Santa!”