SIERRA VISTA — When it was time for 5-year-old John Kerley to climb on Santa’s lap with his Christmas wish list, he knew exactly what he planned to say.
“I want a dirt bike, a MiBro robot and a Jurassic World Chomper with a jeep,” the youngster informed Santa.
With Mrs. Claus at his side, Santa visited children at different locations around Sierra Vista on Saturday after an Airevac helicopter flew the celebrity couple into the C-A-L Ranch parking lot that morning.
Hundreds of excited children and parents watched the helicopter touchdown, waving to the couple as they circled the parking lot high overhead. Youngsters waited in a long line to chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus, eager to tell them how good they’ve been and what they want for Christmas.
Six-year-old Summer Moncrief came to Sierra Vista “all the way from California” for the annual fly-in and to bend Santa’s ear with her wish list, summarizing it with, “I want a lot of things for Christmas.”
Everett Bluemer, 5, wants a power scooter and spurs.
“I ride horses, so I need the spurs,” he said.
Roller skates and a Polly Pocket top 6-year-old Chanelle Vonkohler’s Christmas list.
“I’m glad I got here early so I could talk to him and see Mrs. Claus, too,” she said.
Ross Newhauser, 7, wanted to know why Santa decided to travel by helicopter instead of a sleigh.
“I really, really wanted to see all the reindeers,” he said. “The helicopter is loud. I think it’s louder than reindeers, but I liked it anyway.”
The annual fly-in serves as a kick-start to a day-long list of activities organized by the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce on the first Saturday in December. Santa’s annual visit is tied to the chamber’s “shop local” theme, in support of Sierra Vista’s businesses. The chamber also organizes the annual Christmas parade, which is now in its 60th year. The light parade starts at 5:30 and drew more than 70 entries this year. Spectators bundle up in warm blankets and line Fry Boulevard to watch as more than 70 entries travel from Seventh Street to Avenida Escuela.
Every year, Santa and Mrs. Claus are featured as the parade grand finale.
Winners of the 60th annual Christmas Parade, with its Winter Wonderland theme:
Cox Award — Canyon Vista Medical Center
Lawley Award — Lowe’s Home Improvement
Chamber Award — Mr. Fix It
Chairmanship Award — Girl Scouts
Judges Choice Award — U.S. Forest Service
Honorable Mention — Society for Creative Anachronism