State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Alpha Fire Company Announces Annual "Santa Run" Route

on December 14, 2007 1:40 PM

Monday, December 24, 2007, starting at 4:30 p.m., Alpha Fire Company will honor its longstanding State College tradition of chauffeuring Santa on its aerial tower trucks along major streets of State College neighborhoods, so he can hand out candy canes and wish area children, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

Preparations for the December 24th event will begin at 7:30 a.m. at Alpha Fire Company, where volunteers will decorate the aerial tower trucks with more than 10,000 Christmas lights. That night, Alpha will send out two separate Santa Teams, with three or four fire trucks in each team, to visit most State College neighborhoods, including the Borough of State College, The Villages of Lemont and Houserville, Park Forest and Grayswoods. Alpha volunteer firefighters will broadcast holiday music over the trucks’ loud speakers and bring joy to children throughout the area.

“This is one of the most fun and rewarding community events we do each year,” says Joe Wirtz, Alpha volunteer firefighter, Santa Run committee co-chair and one of the Alpha Santas. “It’s a way to give to the community, and I just love seeing the looks on kids’ faces when we come.”

Volunteer firefighters Andrew Prestia and Joe Wirtz will dress as Santas this year. Weis Markets and Wegmans are providing candy canes. JOE FM will broadcast the Santa Run route progress throughout the evening.

The Alpha Fire Company assures everyone in the community that fire response comes first. Their first duty is to protect our citizens. Therefore, they also ask that families not become frustrated if the Santa Run timing falls behind. Occasionally, the Alphas have to abandon the holiday fun in order to fight a fire.

This year the Nittany Amateur Radio Club (NARC) plans to have transmitters in both of the lead apparatus to better track each run as it moves throughout the community. Amateur radio operator will be stationed at JOE FM to announce “real time” locations of the parades.  “This year children can listen on Christmas Eve to see when Alpha, hehem…Santa, is coming to their neighborhood,” says Prestia.

Founded in 1899, the Alpha Fire Company is an all-volunteer company with 85 volunteer firefighters and 12 fire police in three fire stations---State College Borough, Patton Township and College Township. The Company serves 72,000 residents and covers 93.7 square miles, including the State College Borough, College, Patton, and Ferguson Townships and the University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University. The Company relies solely on volunteers to respond to its nearly 1,000 calls per year for fire suppression and rescue services. The Company also performs public fire safety education services and plan review services to the community. Alpha Fire Company is actively recruiting volunteers.

For more information about the Santa Run, or about how you can volunteer, please, contact Chris Prestia at: (814) 280-6178. The Alpha Fire Company Main Station is located at 400 West Beaver Avenue, State College, Pennsylvania 16801. To reach the main station administrative offices, please call (814) 237-5359. Or, visit us on the web at

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