Santa exits helicopter, brings early Christmas cheer at Promenade Mall
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 4:28 AM
It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Tulsa Promenade on Saturday.
Santa Claus made an entrance on a helicopter, a parade broke out and shoppers were invited to sign holiday cards that will be delivered by the American Red Cross and Blue Star Mothers to veterans as well as active military personnel and their families.
Aryn Moore, 7, said it was "really cool" to see Santa climb out of a helicopter instead of a sleigh.
Promenade marketing director Eileen Neighbors said this was the second year that the mall has had Santa chopper in, courtesy of Crumpton Aviation.
Neighbors said the mall was looking for "something different" and having Santa arrive in a helicopter fit the bill.
Ryan Moore, 14, said he thought the aerial entrance by St. Nick was "very original." Laryn Moore of Broken Arrow said the subsequent parade - featuring cheerleaders, dancers, a drum line and assorted mascots in addition to Santa - was the first indoor parade she recalls seeing.
While the mood inside the mall at 41st Street and Yale Avenue was festive, there was also a serious side. Those who stopped by the "Holiday Mail for Heroes" table had the opportunity to send their regards to those who are serving - or have served - in the military.
Brandon Guterman, 16, stopped by the table and said "filling out cards is the least we can do" for those who give so much on behalf of the rest of us.
Dan Guterman, Brandon's father, said such sentiments should not be limited to this time of year.
"Every time of year, we should be thinking of our soldiers," Dan Guterman said.
Jannie Ellison said she was glad to see the Red Cross involved in getting cards overseas. She said she realizes the holiday season can be difficult both for service members who are deployed and the family members waiting for their return.
Red Cross volunteer Bing Adkins estimated that hundreds of people expressed their holiday wishes in writing Saturday. She said the big box in which they were being collected filled up five or six times.
The card collection at Promenade mall was part of an annual effort by the American Red Cross. According to the organization's website, more than 1.35 million cards went to troops deployed overseas and stationed locally in 2011.
"I think it means a lot to military people and their families to receive these cards," Adkins said. "It lets them know people are thinking about them while they are keeping our country safe."
Original Print Headline: Santa's 'air sleigh' lands at mall in time for parade
David Harper 918-581-8359
Santa is greeted by fans at Promenade mall after arriving there by helicopter for his annual visit on Saturday. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World
Matthew Merrell pilots a helicopter as Santa waves to his fans while flying over Promenade mall prior to landing there for his annual visit. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World