Santa joins firefighters in visiting children and collecting donations

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” rang throughout the neighborhoods of the Tulalip reservation during the weekend of December 15-17. The loud holiday expressions were from none other than Santa Clause himself, as he walked the streets of the community accompanied by the Tulalip Bay Fire Department. Every year, Santa joins the firefighters to hand out candy canes to the children, while the Fire Department collects canned foods and cash from community members who are kind enough to donate to the less fortunate during the holidays.

The yearly occurrence is known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department Annual Santa Run and is remarkably popular within the community. Many children anxiously wait for the Christmas-decorated firetruck to pull up on their street, because they know that means Santa is near. Equally shocked and excited, the children enthusiastically greet Saint Nick to let him know what’s at the top of their Christmas list.

Santa Run is a three-day event in which Tulalip Bay Fire visits several neighborhoods on the reservation. All food and money collected by the fire department is donated to the Tulalip Food Bank located at the red church. This year’s donations totaled over 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items as well as over six hundred dollars.

“Not everybody has food to put on the table during the holiday season,” explains Tulalip Bay Volunteer Firefighter and Santa Run Coordinator, Patrick Dinneen. “The food that we bring in, everything goes straight to the red church the day after we’re done. It’s a huge deal just to get our faces out in the community because on people’s worst days, they can call on us to make it better. We want to be familiar with our community we want people to know who we are and that we’re here for them.”

Santa and Sirens

Tulalip Bay Fire Dept. annual Santa Run and food drive


Santa and the family of Christina Leea singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Santa and the family of Christina Leea singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Article and photos by Andrew Gobin/Tulalip News

Tulalip Bay Fire Department brought a little Christmas cheer to the neighborhoods of Tulalip. A parade of the department’s two fire engines and ambulance had Santa riding along on an engine, jumping off to pass out hugs and candy canes to kids from one to ninety-two, all the while trumpeting horns and blasting sirens to let people know that Santa had come to town.

Kids and their families lined the streets on December 14th and 15th as Santa rolled through with his firefighting elves. The children’s faces lit up as soon as they saw him, or maybe that was from all the lights decorating the fire engines. A few times Santa and his elves joined families for a chorus of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Passing neighborhood traffic didn’t seem to mind Santa parading down the street, many times passing cars stopped to join the holiday festivities.

The Holiday Santa run started at 5pm each day and lasted five hours, all the while collecting food and monetary donations for the Tulalip Food Bank. Santa and his elves filled the ambulance with donations over the course of the weekend.

There are many photos of Santa visiting children and their families. To view them please visit, or see our new facebook page; search Tulalip News.