Santa waves goodbye. Photo by Heidi Randhava

Santa made his rounds on Dec. 18, traveling by fire truck and arriving right on time at 18 designated Santa Stops throughout all of Evanston’s nine wards. Flashing lights, sirens, and a motorcycle escort signaled his outdoor appearances at Evanston parks and community centers.

There was growing anticipation ahead of Santa’s 1:10 p.m. arrival at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St. Some of the children held hand-written letters bound for the North Pole.

“Who are we waiting for?” Jillian Deinoff asked her son, Theo.

“Santa!” said Theo as he and his sister, Elodie, listened for the sound of the firetruck’s siren.

The brief, outdoor, distanced and masked visits with Santa made it possible for Evanston families to safely enjoy a favorite holiday tradition amid the pandemic.

“We just missed seeing Santa at Fountain Square last week. Five minutes is a good chunk of time to see Santa,” said Scott Mangum, who brought his son, Boston.

Fire Captain Jason Hays thanked everyone at each Santa Stop for “masking up” to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“There’s a reason why the numbers in Evanston are low compared to a lot of other places. It’s because people are actually following the recommendation, and that makes our lives so much easier,” Capt. Hays told a reporter from the RoundTable.

Hosted by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Santa Stops began at noon at Ridgeville Park District, 908 Seward St., and ended at 3 p.m. at Baker Park, Keeney Street and Forest Avenue.