The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) once again hosted a very famous visitor on Saturday — jolly old St. Nick.
Civic Plaza was turned into a winter wonderland where several hundred children and their families came to see Santa and enjoy free activities provided by the airport.
“We are in our fourth year having Santa,” said Nancy Wise of IND. “He came in on the fire truck which makes it so exciting for the kids. This year a plane was coming in right behind him.”
Wise said the airport staff really enjoys hosting the event and hopes it becomes a tradition for years to come. She said the crowd this year was impressive.
“The second year we did it we had Dora the Explorer,” she said. “So we had an awesome crowd that year. This is a great crowd. And all this is free. We give out vouchers, so parking is free. And all the activities are free to participate in.”
Each family received a free digital photo with Santa. Children were invited to make holiday decorations and families could work together to make cards or decorate ornaments.
“This is a great way for people to see what we have out here at the airport — especially those who don’t travel,” Wise said. “This way they can come out and see how easy it is to get in and out.”
Civic Plaza is open to the public daily and offers several dining and shopping destinations.
B105.7 radio personality Eric Garnes served as the emcee for the event and kept visitors aware of Santa’s progress prior to his arrival.
“We’ve done this for a number of years and it’s always a lot of fun,” Garnes said.
Rayna Taylor of RTR Events helps the airport put on the event.
“It’s so awesome that we have a full house,” Taylor said. “I think this is the best one yet.”
She said the entertainers from the Cincinnati Circus were a hit with the families.
“And we have great volunteers who come out and help with the family activities,” she said. “They’re just great.”
The Indianapolis Airport Authority owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system. In addition to the Indianapolis International Airport, its facilities include the Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, Hendricks County Airport, Indianapolis Regional Airport, and Metropolitan Airport.
IND’s economic impact in Central Indiana is more than $4.5 billion annually, and about 10,000 people work at the airport each day.
For more photos of Santa’s visit, see page 4 in today’s Westside Flyer.