BUTTE - Santa got a warm reception on a cold day in Butte.
St. Nick opted for a Cessna instead of his traditional sleigh to fly into the Bert Mooney Airport a few days before Christmas to hand out toys to a crowd of grateful children.
“Oh my goodness, I was overwhelmed, we ran out of presents. I’m going to have to go back to the workshop and get some more,” said Santa Claus.
Pilots with the Red Sleigh Airmail Pilots of the Museum of Mountain Flying volunteered their time to fly out of Missoula to deliver Santa to several small towns around western Montana.
“There’s needs out there and it’s a group of people that seem to just come together and answer the needs and get out there and help folks,” said volunteer pilot Josh Johnson.
Children were happy to get an early gift from Santa, but many have their Christmas wish lists ready.
“I want a baby doll bike, well, a bike that has a baby doll seat in the back,” said 8-year-old Khrysali Meixner.
That be great, hopefully he’ll bring that. He probably couldn’t fit that on the plane.
“Nah, you can’t fit bikes on a plane,” said Meixner.
This is just a little pit stop for Santa before he has the big night on Christmas Eve, but the folks running this program just wanted to spread a little Christmas joy to all the little towns around Montana.
“It’s great just seeing the kids smile and this is fantastic to just roll up and see all the kids here and cheering for Santa. It’s great,” said Johnson.