QUINCY − Five-year-old Jason Delgado, of Weymouth, was giggling as he jumped up and down after taking a photo and sharing high-fives with Santa.
"I just told Santa I need candies and toys," Jason said.
"He really loves Santa," said Emily Delgado, his mother. "We can't get him out of Santa and his elves."
Under sunny skies at Pageant Field in Quincy on Saturday afternoon, hundreds of families greeted Santa Claus and his elves who arrived by helicopter to light up the holiday season.
The Grinch, a snowman, gingerbread men, a bear and a nutcracker were among more than a dozen costumed characters on the ground greeting children as they waited for Santa to arrive.
Sophia Zimolka, 3, of Wollaston, gave Santa a big hug and shyly told Santa, "I want to be a ballerina."
“That’s really exciting for kids to see Santa,” said Sophia's father, Bryan Zimolka. "We enjoyed today's Christmas event. It's fun for the family, especially seeing the look on my daughter's face when she spends time with Santa. That look just warms my heart.”
Beginning in 1979, Santa Claus skydived into Quincy, but that ended when he arrived by helicopter for the first time last year.
Santa was eager to meet and say hello to the children after his helicopter landed, and hundreds of kids scrambled to take pictures with him and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
"I just told Santa I need a pencil and a black pen," said Giovanni Alves, 6, of Quincy.
“I just wanted to see Santa and hug him,” said Chloe Rooney, 3, of Weymouth.
Parents were happy to see their kids smiling as they met Santa.
“It is pretty spectacular,” Jessica Brough, of Quincy, said. “It’s wonderful seeing kids here, so many little kids here for the first time thrilled to see Santa.”
Warm temperatures, the costumed characters, free hot chocolate, letter writing to Santa, strolling carolers and other highlights brought out a much larger crowd Saturday than last year, Michelle Hanly, Quincy's director of recreation, said.
"We have run three events this Thanksgiving weekend to become a tradition for many families in Quincy," Hanly said. "Tree lighting (Friday) night, Santa's arrival by helicopter today and the Christmas parade (Sunday). All of the departments in the city worked together for the entire weekend. We wanted to bring the community together."
The parade starts at noon at the intersection of Hancock Street and Walter J. Hannon Parkway, and continues to North Quincy High School.
“We really love the community," Kate Alves, of Quincy, said. "We're thankful Quincy created such a great event for us.”
For more holiday event information, visit https://www.quincyma.gov/news_detail_T35_R86.php.
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Reach Wenjing Ding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Santa lands in Quincy by helicopter