SCRANTON, Pa. — It's been three years since the big guy in the red suit strutted down the streets of Scranton. The last Scranton Santa Parade stepped off in 2019.
"It killed us ... not being able to do this. It was really weird to not have it, and it was hard to get the Christmas train rolling," said parade committee member Tom Fritz. "So having him back, and unfortunately, the cold is probably our fault because he doesn't come unless it's cold out."
The cold won't bother Rock 107's Prospector. The radio personality is one of three grand marshals for this year's Santa parade.
How does he get prepared for such a job, you might ask?
"Absolutely, listen to as much Christmas music as I can, and the other thing — tons and tons of eggnog."
Hey, you have to stay warm somehow!
With the area's first snowfall of the season Tuesday night, organizers are starting to get in the holiday spirit.
"This is the kickoff to the holiday," said Kerrie Powell. "It's been warm the last couple of weeks; no one's thinking Christmas yet, and this is it. This is how it all begins."
But really, for the parade committee, it begins in January. Planning takes all year.
About 1,700 people will march down the streets on Saturday, including Kali Mercatili and the Double "R" Twirlettes.
"I'm so excited to twirl with my friends in the parade, and also, I'm so excited to start the holiday season off strong."
Kids will even have the chance to meet Santa after the parade.
"He's going to be in a special Santa tent on Biden Street and Washington Avenue, right around the corner there. Kids can come, get their pictures taken, visit Santa, and bring your list," said Mike Gallacher.
It all starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning on the corner of Franklin and Biden Streets. Organizers advise people to get there early as many streets will be blocked off.
If braving the cold doesn't suit you, WNEP-TV will broadcast it live on TV and online.
Watch the March of the Toy Soldiers by the Ballet Theater of Scranton on WNEP's YouTube Channel.