HARKER HEIGHTS -- When Santa Claus comes to town on Christmas Eve, sometimes he prefers a little more horsepower than eight tiny reindeer can provide.
That's why every year the Harker Heights Fire Department takes Santa on a tour through town in one of their fire trucks.
"We've been doing this every year for the past 30 years that I have been here, and they were doing it long before that, too," Capt. Jimmy Carson said. "I honestly don't know how long we have been doing this event."
In the early years of the event, just one Santa made the annual trip through town, but as Harker Heights and the Fire Department grew bigger, eventually more Santas were added to the event so the tour wouldn't last all hours of the night.
"We were originally making the drive with just one Santa, but about three years ago, I started asking for volunteers because I was desperate for Santas," Carson said.
Chet Gill, one of the Santas on the tour, said he first started participating four years ago.
"I actually got started four years ago when Jimmy asked me to do it," Gill said. "He needed Santas real bad and I agreed to do it, and I have been doing it ever since."
The truck Santa was riding in was even decorated for the event. Christmas lights were hung around the windshield and along the top of the truck. Lights even wrapped around the sides of the ladder on the back of the fire truck.
"I'm really excited to go on the ride," Gill said. "This is a really fun event."
The ride left the Central Fire Station at 401 Indian Trail, headed to the Harker Heights Elementary School, made its way to the H-E-B grocery store and ended the tour back at the fire station. The other two Santas left on their tours from Fire Station 2 at 3207 Stillhouse Lake Road.