CLARKSVILLE, IN (December 21, 2021) – Christmas came to Clarksville a bit early this year. On Monday and Tuesday, the Clarksville Fire Department and Parks Department teamed up to spread a little holiday cheer. With the Clarksville Parks music van blaring Christmas music and Santa riding a fire truck, the annual ‘Santa Parade’ made its way through local neighborhoods.
“I can’t take credit for it,” said Clarksville Fire Chief Brandon Skaggs. “Several years ago, a few of the firefighters contacted me and said hey chief, we’d like to have a parade through town, Santa Claus wants to ride on the fire truck.”
Chief Skaggs says when he watched the parade come through his neighborhood that first year, along with the look of excitement on his kids’ faces, he knew this needed to become an annual event. Even though he now takes a more active role in the event, he stills credits his firefighters for getting it started.
“It is just nothing but joy that we can spread during this time. It is self-motivated by these firefighters, they enjoy doing it, and I can’t do anything but support it.”
To make it all happen, Chief Skaggs says about 15 firefighters and some of their family work to get the fire trucks decorated and lit up for the parade each year. The parade started about four years ago with just Santa Claus and one elf. The next year they added a couple more elves and the Grinch, and this year, they added Frosty the Snowman. Santa Claus says he looks forward to visiting Clarksville each year.
“Clarksville is a great place to be,” said Santa Claus. “Aa lot of good things happen in Clarksville, and I believe Santa needs to come down and share a little bit of his Christmas spirit with all the citizens of Clarksville.”
This year was the first time Kayla Tatgenhorst was in charge of driving the music van in the parade. She just joined the Clarksville Parks Department a week ago as the new Recreation Director, but she says she was excited to make an immediate impact in the community.
“It was amazing! It was great to see the people who didn’t know that we were coming, running to the windows and try to get their family members to come and see Santa and what we were doing,” said Clarksville Parks Recreation Director Kayla Tatgenhorst. “It was also amazing for people who did know who were already standing out in their yards waving and screaming Merry Christmas. It was a good experience for sure.”
As for Chief Skaggs, he says his firefighters are building a legacy for future Clarksville firefighters to follow in terms of getting out into the community.
“It’s a great thing, and it really gives us an opportunity to come together as firefighters, but also gives us a better opportunity to create a bond with our community without being in an emergency incident”
Although the parade can’t make it to every Clarksville street, Chief Skaggs says his department will continue to work on growing the parade route each year.