Christmas carols mingled with the sound of fire truck sirens in downtown Juneau.
Capital City Fire/Rescue and Santa Claus made their way through downtown Juneau and Douglas on Friday evening for the fire department’s annual holiday parade.
Christian Etheridge, 6, who has lost his two front teeth, sang “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” shortly before firefighters walked by handing out candy canes to children along Franklin Street.
Etheridge, like most of the other children, said he was excited to see Santa Claus. He said he knew what he hoped St. Nick will bring him this year, too.
“A spy kit and spy goggles,” Etheridge said. “I could spy on whoever I want.”
Mia Richins, 4, clasped hands with her family and joined in a rendition of “Jingle Bells” after the parade.
She too said she was most excited to see Santa, who was joined by firefighters, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and a handful of decorated fire trucks. Richins had high hopes for what Santa will bring her later this month.
“A special robot that helps me clean up my toys,” Richins said.
The holiday parade started at the Mount Roberts Tramway and made its way into downtown Juneau before taking the Douglas Bridge and proceeding through downtown Douglas and ending at the Douglas fire station.
“By the end of the night, everyone’s pretty tired,” Assistant Chief Chad Cameron said.
The lengthy parade extended a long-running tradition.
Cameron said he’s not sure exactly how long the fire department has held a holiday parade, but it’s been happening for decades.
“We don’t know,” Cameron said. “I’ve asked all the old-timers. It’s just a tradition we’ve carried on. I’ve been told it went on in the ’40s and ’50s. Legend has it the reindeer we use are also from that time, but I’ve also heard they’re from the 1960s. No one knows when it started or why.”
Cameron was able to attach a specific number to the amount of candy canes handed out during the parade. He said annually about $3,000 is spent on the sweet peppermint candies passed out to kids by firefighters along the route. The money to purchase the candy canes does not come from the City and Borough of Juneau, Cameron said.
“That is all from volunteer associations,” Cameron said.
More to come
Saturday, Dec. 22, the Mendenhall Valley will get its own Santa Parade.
The parade route starts at 6 p.m. at Glacier Valley Elementary School, 3400 Tongass Blvd.
The parade makes its way from the school 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 and ends at Glacier Valley Church of God.