MONTVALE, N.J. — Continuing a tradition that is headed to the century mark, Montvale firefighters are decoratively paving the way for Santa’s grand Christmas Eve arrival in town.
"We do it rain or shine. We always hope for a little snow,” Fire Chief Clinton Miller said. “Last year, we got (it) right around 6 p.m. It was great for the aesthetics.”
Miller was raised in the borough, and his father was chief in the early 1960s. Several of his relatives, including his sons, and other generations of families have served and decorated over the years so that Santa can enjoy the chilly evening ride down Kinderkamack Road.
Some of the department's 40 members arrange a 10-foot stocking, a sleigh, $2,500 garland and light snowmen, as wella s greeting signs, a menorah, a manger and a Christmas tree on a flag pole with a 3-foot star.
They also set up caroling and skating characters near the busy downtown area.
Planning starts months beforehand.
Come the big note, Santa will arrive by firetruck and "give out toys to all of the good little boys and girls," Miller said.
Miller has missed Santa’s arrival twice in his 53 years with the department -- when he was serving in the military during the early part of the Vietnam War.
The tightly knit firefighters have decorated their 1955 building for its final holiday season.
Early next year, it will be demolished to make way for a bigger facility to better address their needs.
Miller he sees more generations of men and women join to make up for member attrition.
“It’s tough for young people. Some join in the junior program, and for some it is difficult for them to stay in this affluent area and work and live here," he said. "We have some young, and some not-so-young, and we enjoy each other’s company.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.