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franklin county times

Santa flies in to Russellville

Ho ho ho! Santa Claus is taking time out of his busy schedule to fly into Russellville Municipal Airport Dec. 3 for the third annual Santa Fly-in and Toy Drive.

Russellville Fire Department Deputy Chief Randy Seal said the program has been a “tremendous help” with the fire department’s Helping Santa Toy Drive for several years now.

“We greatly appreciate all the efforts that go into planning this event by the airport officials,” said Seal, “and we’re grateful for the community’s generous support so we can help as many children as possible in our community at Christmas.”

Hosted by Explore Aviation, the company that manages the airport, and Go Vertical, the airport’s flight school, the event is free, but those who can are asked to bring a toy to donate to the toy drive.

“Last year, we had four long tables full of toys people donated for the toy drive,” explained Emily Evans, manager of Explore Aviation and director of operations for Go Vertical.“We hope to have a big turnout again this year, and we can’t wait to share the Christmas spirit with the community when Santa arrives for his visit.”

The reindeer will have the day off, so Santa will be sailing in on a red and white Mooney M20J plane, landing between 10 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Those wishing to be sure to see Santa’s fly-by and landing should arrive no later than 9:45 a.m.

After landing, Santa will stay until noon to greet visitors and pose for photos while festive music plays. Those who want a photo with Santa will need to bring their own camera.

Evans said she loves getting to see the excitement in the eyes of the children as they enjoy the morning.

“We look forward to this event every year,” explained Evans. “We’re so happy to get to fly Santa in so the kids can see him before Christmas. The children always love it, and we have a lot of fun.”

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