Forty-three years ago, the idea of having Santa fly into the Princeton Airport for the local children to experience was brought to life by the Nierenberg family, owners of the Princeton Airport. Throughout the years, this has evolved into a wonderful annual event for the families in our community.
The tradition continues this year on Monday, December 24, at 11 a.m. when the airport hangar doors open to children awaiting Santa’s arrival by airplane. Parents are advised to bring their children to the airport at 10 a.m., as the Princeton Airport Flying Tigers will be serving cocoa and cookies, and local folk singer Pat McKinley, starting at 10:30, will be leading the audience in holiday songs.
If parents would like to have a gift waiting for their child, they should bring a wrapped gift with the child’s name on it in large print to the Princeton Airport lobby. Gifts should be no larger than 12” to accommodate Santa. If parents have more than one child participating, the gifts should be wrapped in the same paper and tied together to speed up the distribution. Also, to have their child participate, parents need to bring a gift for donation, as well. This is very important:
These gifts must be new, unwrapped and will be collected by the Mercer County Board of Social Services. Personal checks made out to the “FoodBank Network of Somerset County,” as well as canned or boxed food are suitable alternatives accepted at the airport. Donations from non-participants are kindly accepted as well.
Gift collection begins the day after Thanksgiving at 8 a.m. and ends on Monday, December 17, enabling county workers to arrange the best matches for the needy. The gifts can be deposited in the “chimneys” in the lobby of the airport between 8 and 6 p.m.
Once Santa’s plane lands, he will head into the hangar along with all the participants to distribute each gift individually. In fairness to all, Santa will distribute the gifts in the order in which they are received at the airport. Children will also have the opportunity to take a picture on Santa’s lap. Usually, distribution is completed by 1:00 P.M. and Santa continues his journey.
There is no charge for this event. The Princeton Airport is located in Montgomery Township, 3.5 miles north of Princeton on Route 206. The full address is 41 Airpark Road, Princeton. For further information, call 609-921-3100 or visit www.princetonairport.com.