Central Texas Santa tradition ends due to population growth

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BUDA, Texas (KXAN) – An annual Christmas tradition in Buda is being canceled after the fire department says the city has simply grown too large. In past years, Santa would ride from neighborhood to neighborhood on a fire truck and visit the children. But this year Santa will only be visiting at the city’s Trail of Lights.

“It was always something you look forward to this time of year when the fire truck would come around to your house,” said Buda resident Brandy Fontenot.

Instead, it’s a more traditional Santa visit with a line of anxious kids and parents ready to take their picture. “Santa already has a line tonight and I know he saw a lot of folks last night,” said Buda’s Director of Parks and Recreation Drew Wells on Saturday. Wells says the Buda Trail of Lights will always welcome Santa, but just like all other organizations in the city they’re starting to feel and see the growth. “We’ll have almost 15 to 17 thousand people coming through. It’s grown every year and it just gets bigger,” said Wells.

In a Facebook post, the fire department says it would take a 15-day commitment to visit each neighborhood in Buda. They say last year it became difficult with so many new subdivisions and an increase of 911 calls, with that alone they say it’s impossible to continue the tradition. “We wish that we were able to continue to do the event, as our department has really enjoyed being out in the community and seeing the reaction on kids faces when they see Santa on the Fire Truck!” the department wrote on their Facebook page.

The Buda Trail of Lights will be open for its final night on Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Historic Stagecoach Park.

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