Despite the unseasonably warm weather, downtown Scotch Plains was overcome with holiday spirit on Sunday. Local families gathered in the Village Green, eager to see Santa Claus himself arrive in sparkling holiday splendor aboard a bright, red fire engine.
Jolly St. Nick was the guest of honor at the Scotch Plains Old Fashioned Holiday Celebration, and was kept company by sheep and goats in the petting zoo, two Clydesdales pulling the wagon ride, Rainbow the Clown and yes, even Darth Vader. Still, there was no debating when in came to the main attraction.
“We wanted the kids to get out to see Santa,” said Patrick Thompson of Scotch Plains.
His daughters, Veronica, 6, and Emily, 3, also enjoyed feeding the animals in the petting zoo.
Before Santa arrived, kids passed the time while waiting for the classic Santa's lap photo-op by taking pictures with Star Wars characters that were wandering around the Village Green. The cast of Star Wars characters was brought out by the located on Park Avenue). The characters were played by members of the 501st Legion, a group of volunteers who are fans of the iconic series.
A pair of Clydesdale horses pulling a wagon around the town was also a big hit, as was the ice sculptor using a chainsaw to carve a reindeer.
Laura Watt said she and her 3-year-old son Ryan, were brought out by “Santa, and the weather” - which was in the mid-50s. “He’s looking forward to the wagon ride too,” Watt stated.
While many delighted in seeing Santa, families also found amusement in another popular attraction.
"The petting zoo is a huge hit," said Tara Kennedy, of Scotch Plains and mother of Erin, 5, and Grace, 7.
The petting zoo included sheeps and goats poking their noses through the fences hoping to snatch some tasty goodies from eagerly oustretched hands. There was also a potbellied pig and a few chickens as well as a pair of ponies for riding.
Members of the community rounded out the celebration; local Girls Scout troops, the Scotch Plains Fire Department, schools and other vendors sold cookies, hot drinks, jewelry, cosmetics, and other gifts for the holidays adding to the anticipation of holidays to come.