- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - Santa Claus has made his way to a Michigan city to bring some holiday cheer to children and families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Santa made his first stop Tuesday to Traverse City’s central neighborhood, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported. It is one of fours stops Santa will make while he is in town collecting North Pole-bound letters ahead of Christmas.

“It’s something to help out the children and families a little bit, you know, with the stresses of the pandemic,” said Jim Tuller, the city’s fire chief. “An idea was born that maybe we could help brighten their day.”

Santa agreed to spread some holiday cheer after the Downtown Development Authority asked for his help, Tuller said.

Annika Anton and sister Maggie waited in front of their house for Santa to appear. The girls’ mom, Emily Ulbrich, said they had been counting down the hours to Santa’s arrival.

When Santa finally came, he was on a vintage, cherry-red and string light-adorned fire truck.

Tuller said it’s a new addition to downtown events, which was coordinated by the Firefighter’s Association. Local firefighters are volunteering to serve as honorary reindeer/sleigh drivers, he added.

During Tuesday’s visit, Santa also stopped in Kid’s Creek and Slabtown neighborhoods.

Santa next visit will be on Thursday from 3-5 p.m.

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