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Helicopter landing on the Nutley Park Oval

The Tradition Continues with Santa's 58th Arrival

Black Friday in Nutley is not only considered the day for crazy shoppers and sales, but a day where families and friends come together to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus as they arrive at the Nutley Park Oval. As the tradition continues for its 58th year, on November 29th Mr. and Mrs. Claus flew in on their helicopter onto the Oval to meet and take pictures with the children to kick off the holiday season. Santa’s arrival is enjoyed by the Nutley community as families come to share the experience of such a unique yet traditional event in Nutley. 


Santa’s arrival at the Oval is run by the Nutley Chamber of Commerce. They never fail to fill Nutley and its residents with Christmas spirit. With around 4,500 children and families this year at the event, a lot goes into making sure that the arrival comes out perfect as it always does. “Preparations for the event begins towards the end of August and continues until the day of the event,” said Barbara Chiarieri, Nutley Chamber officer manager. “In that time, all of the necessary paperwork must be filled out and then submitted to the town clerk to be distributed to every department to sign off and approve of, specifically Public Safety, Fire Department, and the Department of Public Works. We also make sure that Santa is available and has enough time to fly in from the North Pole!”


Along with greetings from Santa, The Nutley Chamber of Commerce provides entertainment that includes the Nutley Junior Raiders third and fifth grade cheerleading squads, Nutley School of Music, and Ellis Dance Studio classes for all families to enjoy.  From the loud holiday music to the candy canes and hot cocoa being given out, the Nutley Chamber of Commerce does everything to make sure that everyone is excited to kick off another Christmas season.


With the 58th anniversary of the Santa’s arrival, for many families, this has become a yearly holiday tradition. Tara Ostrowski, a local Nutley mother of three daughters, shares her personal experience of attending the event. “This has been a tradition that our family has been going to for the last 15 years,” said Tara. “It is such a fun day seeing Santa arrive into the oval by helicopter. The kids love it and it is a great start to the holiday season. This is one of the many wonderful events the town does for its residents.” 


The Nutley Chamber of Commerce puts on such an enjoyable event every year making sure that everyone is satisfied. There are free goodies bags given out, filled with little gifts for both the kids and parents to enjoy, but even just the high fives from Santa to the kids anxiously waiting to meet him is enough to put a smile on their faces.  Kiley Ostrowski, 9 year old daughter of Tara, really enjoys going to the arrival and has been going with her family ever since she was a baby. “It is really cool to see Santa fly to Nutley in his helicopter and wave to him. I like getting the candy canes from him, too.” Kiley says with a smile. 


With such a huge and exciting event hosted in Nutley, it holds a special place in not only the residents’ hearts but also in local Nutley businesses. With the many sponsors and donations made by the community and its businesses, the spectacular arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus would never be able to happen without the support from the community. Chiarieri says, “Santa’s Arrival is our way of saying thank you to the residents of Nutley for their yearly support of the businesses and services that are available here in Nutley.” With many more arrivals of Santa to come, the holiday tradition continues to spread the excitement of Christmas throughout Nutley.