,Johnstown welcomed Jolly Old Saint Nicholas into town at the annual Santa Parade and right into a new house on the town square on Dec. 3.

,Johnstown welcomed Jolly Old Saint Nicholas into town at the annual Santa Parade and right into a new house on the town square on Dec. 3.

Johnstown's Angels and Astronauts-sponsored parade featured many local groups and organizations and Johnstown-Monroe High School's Big Red Band playing "Here Comes Santa Claus."

The Monroe Township Fire Department escorted Santa down Main Street on top of a fire engine and delivered him to his new house that was made possible thanks to Building Unity in Leadership Development of Licking County. The nonprofit is a Johnstown youth-run mission group that rebuilds homes destroyed by natural disasters.

Santa asked the crowd what they thought of his new house before he cut a red ribbon to officially open it.

He said all the volunteers and donors who contributed to the house will be sure to get something extra special this Christmas.

Johnstown's Margot Pontia, 5, was the first child to visit Santa in the new house.

She told Santa she was scared, but she whispered to him that she wanted a toy veterinary clinic before rushing to the exit.

Her mother, Dianne Pontia, is an equine vet.

While waiting for Santa to come into town, lifelong Johnstown resident Chad Cohagen set up lawn chairs for himself and sons Colin, 5, and Alex, 3.

Cohagen said this was their first Santa Parade.

Colin said he wants a scooter for Christmas, while Alex is hoping for a motorcycle.

Madelyn Epling, 6, sat across the street from the Cohagens with her mother, Lyndsey Epling.

She said she wants Orbies (arts and craft materials) for Christmas.

Lyndsey Epling said the duo would attend the Angels and Astronauts Cookie Walk at the Johnstown United Methodist Church following the parade.

"We love it," she said. "We usually buy four (pounds)."

Mary Ellen Radigan said the Angels and Astronauts is Johnstown's division of the Ohio Child Conservation League.

The group's main fundraiser is the Cookie Walk. It also sponsors the Santa Parade and Santa's Mailbox.

"We bring Santa off his vacation," Radigan said.

She said the organization meets monthly at the Johnstown United Methodist Church, 159 S. Main St.

"It's great for younger families," Radigan said. "We help children of Johnstown and do things all through the year."

Each of the group's nine members made at least 15 dozen cookies for the walk with varieties ranging from sugar to gingerbread. "We also have a number of people who make buckeye candies," Radigan said.

Helen Hartley said she's fairly new to Johnstown, and the group has been helpful to get to know people.

Anyone interested in joining can call the group's president, Kacy Radigan, at 614-578-0690.

The Santa House will be open from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 12-16 and Dec. 19-21 and from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Children also may drop their letters to Santa in his mailbox in front of Shull's Hardware, 67 S. Main St. A reply letter from Santa will be delivered, if a name and address are on the child's letter.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla