HARKER HEIGHTS — Before making his magical and epic trip around the world, Santa Claus adjusted his route to make one final pass and to double check his list in Central Texas.
Being a stickler for tradition, Santa Claus has been making his annual pilgrimage through the streets of Harker Heights on Christmas Eve before delivering gifts to good boys and girls since 1988.
"I absolutely love this," said Monica Villella. "The kids get to ride on the truck this year and act as Santa's elves and pass out candy canes."
Her two boys, Andrew, 5, and Carter, 2, could hardly contain their excitement .
"The kids really like it and it's our way of spreading Christmas cheer," said Harker Height Fire Department Lt. David Ayer.
Some residents caught a quick glimpse as Old Saint Nick rolled down a few selected city streets aboard a Heights fire truck, while others got a closer look at predesignated stops along the route.
Two routes were implemented this year to cover the most ground.
"We used to go down every single street, but as the city has grown we have had to pare it down," said fire Capt. Cindy Hicks. "It's just a big party and we all have a great time every single year."
The route out of the Central Fire Station covered 59 streets and another route out of Station 2 covered 80 streets, according to Santa’s helpers. Both routes included stops at Harker Heights Elementary School, H-E-B, Union Grove Middle School, Harker Heights High School and Lakeside Convenience Store.
Santa made himself available at the stops for photos, mingling with the crowd and distributing candy.