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Old St. Nick Returns Dec. 9

Yes, Santa is coming to your neighborhood on his vintage firetruck to visit your block parties and high-five the kids.

He wants your smiles. He wants your letters. And he wants your help.

Santa’s Pre-Flight Parade returns to the Westchase on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 2-7 p.m. The event culminates in the annual PreTree Lighting ceremony on Montague Street in West Park Village upon Santa’s arrival there between 7-7:30 p.m. Holiday music and activities will start in West Park Village Town Center at approximately 6 p.m.

WOW is proud to help make this event possible through a donation of $5,000 to cover its costs.

Most important, Santa wants your help. To help make his visit extra special, he hopes you will be Santa Clause to some less fortunate kids. Along his parade route Santa will collect unwrapped gifts for Michelle’s Kids, a charity that helps needy children and families throughout Hillsborough County. Santa and his helpers hope to collect new and unwrapped toys, games, books, bikes and all sizes of batteries. They will also accept monetary donations to purchase batteries or additional, needed toys. Checks can be made out to Michelle’s Kids.

Each year Santa parades through Westchase in an event organized by Dan O’Brien, Ralph Caputo, Santa and other volunteers from the Westchase Charitable Foundation (WCF). The WCF is a volunteer organization of Westchase residents who work to improve the quality of life in the community by raising funds to assist families with seriously ill children and families faced with tragedies. Residents interested in participating in the parade by putting together a float can still contact parade organizers Ralph Caputo at thecaputos@yahoo.com or Dan O’Brien at djobrien638@gmail.com.

Tracking Santa

Residents hoping to track Santa’s progress through Westchase can do so through their smartphones and computers. Simply save the following link, http://glympse.com/!westchasesanta to yo,ur phone or your computer and click on it at noon on Saturday, Dec. 9.

While you are encouraged to click on the link at noon, the cursor marking Santa’s whereabouts won’t become active until roughly 2 p.m., the parade’s official start time.

Michelle’s Kids

As Santa parades through Westchase, he’ll be collecting hundreds of toys to benefit Michelle’s Kids.

Founded in 2010, Michelle’s Kids (http://www.michelleskids.foundation) collects toys for needy military families at MacDill Air Force Base and to poor children who have been referred to the organization by their teachers. Monetary donations towards the drive can be sent to Michelle’s Kids Inc., 8710 W. Hillsborough #114, Tampa, FL 33615.

So grab your neighbors and organize your block party. And, reflecting the great and generous neighborhood Westchase is, let’s work together to help Santa bring a happy holiday to less fortunate kids!

By Chris Barrett, Publisher; Photos by James Broome Photography

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