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This article was prepared for the December 18, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Santa’s Princeton Stop
Since 1975 the owners of Princeton Airport have devised
a unique way of thrilling area families at the same time they help
less fortunate children for the holidays. Each year they open the
hangar doors to await the arrival of an airborne Santa Claus. The
Nierenberg family started the event 27 years ago at a neighboring
airport and brought the tradition to Princeton in 1985.
This Christmas Eve, says airport manager Kenneth Nierenberg,.Santa’s
stop at Princeton Airport on Route 206 will be at 11 a.m. Those who
wish to have their children participate bring a wrapped gift (no more
than 12 inches in size) with the child’s name written in large print
to the lobby of the airport. (Those who have several children, can
wrap the gifts in matching paper and tie them together to expedite
their distribution.) The airport began collecting gifts the day after
Thanksgiving; to participate, call for this year’s deadline.
The most important facet of this event is the collection of gifts
for needy children, says Naomi Nierenberg. Those who wish to participate
are required to bring new, unwrapped gifts of children’s clothing,
books, or toys. These gifts are being collected and distributed through
the Mercer County Board of Social Services. Due to the current economic
climate, the Nierenbergs believe that less fortunate families will
have a very difficult holiday season without help.
Although toys are a common donation choice, practical items such as
scarves, mittens, and other articles of clothing are most welcome
holiday items. If you want to give cash, personal checks made out
to the "Foodbank Network of Somerset County" will also be
On the day of the event adults are advised to bring the children before
Santa’s arrival and wait in the hangar. Members of the Princeton Airport
Flying Tigers will serve cocoa and cookies, donated by area supermarkets,
and folk singer Pat McKinley leads everyone in holiday songs.
Upon his approach, Santa calls in on the airplane’s radio and his
communication is broadcast to all over the airport’s loudspeaker.
Once safely on the ground, everyone returns to the hangar where Santa
distributes gift individually to each waiting child. The event is
held regardless of weather conditions. The Nierenberg’s remind parents
to bring a camera and well as the kids. Usually the distribution of
the gifts is completed in about two hours and Santa can continue his
journey around the globe.
Township, 609-921-3100. Free. Tuesday, December 24, 11 a.m.
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