For 95 years straight, Santa has visited every house in the small town of Otis with a bag of candy in tow |

For 95 years straight, Santa has visited every house in the small town of Otis with a bag of candy in tow

Christmas Eve travelers are treated by Santa and the members of the Otis Volunteer Fire Department as they pass through town on Christmas Eve. Santa helps make their long drive on Christmas Eve a little more cheery by handing out bags of candy put together by OVED. Santa's helpers are (L) OVFD volunteers, Bob thompson and Trent Alexander. (Photo by Jerry Patterson, Otis Telegraph)
Jerry Patterson / Otis Telegraph

It’s Christmas Eve in Otis, a one-stoplight town two hours east of Denver with 483 people, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate.

Families gather before the 7 p.m. church service. With aunts, parents, grandparents, daughters, nephews and grandsons, houses are soon packed. And outside, the porch light is left on.

They’re all waiting for Santa and this year, just like the past 95 years, he comes.

The Otis Volunteer Fire Department takes Santa street by street, door by door, until they’ve stopped by every house in town — as well as the town of Platner, six miles west — to deliver more than a 1,000 bags of candy. With candy remaining, Santa and his team of helpers head to the town’s stop light, handing out bags to travelers on U.S. Highway 34.

“He’ll go running up to the door — and they don’t knock, they go in — and people are expecting them,” said Jerry Patterson, publisher and managing editor of the Otis Telegraph.

There are five teams of Santas and helpers. Fire department rookies, who tend to be born and raised in Otis, are assigned Santa duty.

“Most of them are pretty good,” Fire Chief Trent Alexander said. “Some of them are a little iffy.”

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