It’s another year in the books for the Georgetown Santas.
The group of neighbors have become a popular mainstay in Salina in the days leading up to Christmas each year. Each year the Santas suit up on Georgetown Road in East Salina, handing out candy and popcorn and spreading Christmas cheer.
The tradition began back in 1998, when Jack Schmiedeler moved to Georgetown Road. He noticed a lot of traffic at Christmas from sightseers looking at the lights. He bought a Santa suit, stood outside, waved and gave away candy.
His neighbor from across the street, Paul McDaniel, asked if he could join in the fun. Other neighbors including Pete Martin, Mike Chaput, and Mel Augustine joined in the effort. Also joining in as Santa’s helpers were Justin Martin, Virgil Michaelis, and Larry Thompson. They began handing out freshly-popped popcorn in addition to the candy.
The Georgetown Santas were out this year nightly, December 21st through the 24th, handing out popcorn, candy, and smiles.
One of the Santas on Christmas Eve told KSAL News that there were times traffic was backed up several blocks, all the way to Crawford Street. At least 2,000 vehicles visited one evening.