Mr. and Mrs. Claus stop to visit families at Cedar Park during the annual Capital City Fire/Rescue Santa Parade in December 2018. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Mr. and Mrs. Claus stop to visit families at Cedar Park during the annual Capital City Fire/Rescue Santa Parade in December 2018. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Santa rides and chopper guides

Holiday happenings planned for Friday and Saturday.

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall.

Though Santa’s annual visit to Juneau might not be anything new, according to Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Ed Quinto, Santa will have something a little more modern than his old sleigh to ride in a pair of capital city parades.

“This year we’re introducing our new ladder truck, Tower 32, so Santa Claus will be out with our new ladder truck this year, it’s only a few months old being here in Juneau,” Quinto said.

It’s that time of year once again where Santa Claus pays Juneau a special visit. Capital City Fire/Rescue, Alaska State Firefighters Association Juneau Chapter, IAFF Local 4303, and Douglas Fire Association will help bring some extra holiday cheer as members of CCFR and their families parade the streets of Juneau together with Santa.

Friday at 6 p.m. Santa will ride through the Mendenhall Valley starting at Glacier Valley Elementary School and ending at Glacier Valley Church of God. The Valley route follows Tongass Boulevard to Stephen Richards Memorial Drive to Riverside Drive to Long Run Road to Portage Boulevard to Aspen Avenue to Taku Boulevard to Thunder Mountain Road, according to a route map available online at https://www.asfajuneau.org/santa-rides.

In following with tradition from past years, Santa will be making a special appearance at Gruening Park in Lemon Creek at 4 p.m. on Saturday before starting his Downtown and Douglas route at 6 p.m. from the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway and ending at the Douglas Fire Station.

The parade will travel from South Franklin Street to Front Street, then Main Street to Calhoun Avenue to Twelfth Street and from there Glacier Avenue to Behrends Avenue. The parade will loop back to Glacier from Behrends and proceed will to 10th Street. The parade will then cross the Douglas Bridge and follow 3rd Street to Foster Avenue before heading to downtown Douglas. In Douglas, the parade will travel from 2nd Street to St Ann’s Avenue, then 5th Street to D Street, which will allow the parade to end at the fire station.

In a news release announcing the parades, City and Borough of Juneau asked everyone to maintain a 6-foot distance from those outside their social bubble and wear masks when social distancing is not possible. Additionally, in following along with the holiday spirit, individually wrapped candy canes will be available and distributed by volunteers in masks.

“We like to do this every year around Christmas time just to bring joy and happiness to all the families in Juneau, we like to hand out our candy canes and the community really enjoys seeing the fire department out there with Santa Claus,” Quinto said. “It’s a fun event for the community to see us out there, shaking hands and hugging people. We’ll be keeping our Facebook page updated on where exactly we are so people can try to keep track of where we’re at on our route.”

Additionally, Coastal Helicopters Inc. will be at the Juneau International Airport on Dec. 16 for their annual Christmas Lights Flights from 4:30 to 7:30. p.m. on Friday, and participants will be taken on a five-minute flights over the Mendenhall Valley to give participants a unique view of the holiday decorations. Flights cost $30 per passenger and all seating is first come, first serve.

Tour and marketing manager Sarah Lowell said all proceeds go to the Mendenhall Flying Lions, flying time and staffing are donated by Coastal Helicopters and fuel from Petro Marine Services.

“It’s something we’ve been doing annually for well over 15 years, the last one we did was in 2018 — 2019 was canceled due to weather and then, of course because of COVID we weren’t able to do it in 2020 or 2021, so this is our first year back doing it in the last three years,” Lowell said. “We want to thank the Juneau airport, as well, just for the space and then also they will be providing free parking in the short-term parking lot. We are going to be stationed over by Island Express, over in the Seaplanes wing at the north terminal.”

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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