Last updated: February 19. 2013 10:21PM - 796 Views

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EXETER – In a pinch, a 1988 Hahn pumper will do when a sled and eight tiny reindeer aren't available.

Santa Claus stepped down from the cab of the fire truck at 6:30 p.m. Saturday to greet a group of approximately 30 parents and children waiting for him at the gazebo of the Exeter Lions Memorial Park.

He was the main attraction at the program put together by Danielle Cristiano, 24, and her sister Brittney, 20.

In between working their jobs and going to school, the sisters from Exeter decorated the gazebo with lights and stockings, rounded up some candy donations and made merry for two hours.

The borough had no public event scheduled, so Danielle said she wanted to arrange a little celebration.

I decided I'm going to do it for all the kids, she said.

The kids sat on Santa's lap, received a candy cane, munched on cookies and pineapple cobbler and warmed up with hot chocolate.

It gives families a time to come out, Cristiano said.

She acknowledged being worried about no one showing up. But she was pleased with the response and said she might do it again next year.

Jerrel Chepalonis, 9, of Exeter ran up to Santa as soon he exited the fire truck donated by Tom Bretz of Kingston.

The boy's grandmother, Helen Chepalonis, said he was excited about coming to the park.

All the way up the street he was singing ‘Santa Claus is coming to town,' she said.

Sarah Mecca and her husband, Scott, of West Wyoming brought their children, 5-year-old Billy and 19-month-old Natalia.

You don't see people doing this out of the kindness of their heart, Sarah said. This is just an act of kindness in the community that should be commended by everybody.

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