Tinsel on the tarmac: Santa zooms into town on bright red chopper
ZOOMING into Gladstone on a speedy helicopter brighter than Rudolph's red nose, Santa Claus brought Christmas to more than 65 families in need this weekend, delivering precious gifts and a runway of smiles.
As he stepped out onto the tarmac, children who'd been eagerly waiting to catch a glimpse of Santa's memorable arrival were more than a touch excited.
Screams and happy cries rang out as the man in red marched over to the line of children pressed up against the gate separating them from him.
Once their access to Santa was unblocked, a once roomy hangar quickly transformed into a space chock-a-block full with eager children and their parents.
The line to sit on Santa's lap was long but no less moving for observers to watch, with scenes of overjoyed kids running to their parents to show them their bag of goodies on replay all morning.
This year's Santa From the Skies event was Gladstone Region's first of its kind - put on by the Gladstone Airport Corporation.
"(We) wanted to do something different for Christmas and support the children of Gladstone and their families, so we're doing this in conjunction with Salvation Army and Roseberry House," GAC chairman Adrienne Ward said.
"We wanted to do something that would actually support the children that don't have the opportunity to meet Santa. And any funds raised today go to Ronald McDonald House charities."
Gladstone Regional Council, Rotary, McDonald's, Queensland Police and firefighters all worked with GAC to put the event on and make it a success.
The invitation-only event was located in the general aviation area of the Gladstone Airport and had face painting and temporary tattoos available for the children as well as a sausage sizzle, activities with emergency services crews and demonstrations of private aircraft.
Mayor Matt Burnett, who said he absolutely loved Christmas time, confirmed how successful the community event had been.
"This is fantastic ... I love Christmas time, I get excited about it ... and by the looks on the kid's faces, they're pretty excited too," he laughed.
Cr Burnett said Santa From The Skies was just one of a series of Christmas events in Gladstone this year, with the Carols by Candlelight, the GEC Christmas Party, the Salvation Army's Toy Run and Christmas in the City as well.