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On Saturday, Nov. 28, Daniel Trickett, Sr., will travel around town spreading holiday cheer. For updates on his location, see The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page. (Photo courtesy of Daniel Trickett, Sr. )
Daniel Trickett, Sr., is taking to the streets of East Haven on Saturday, Nov. 28 as he did this past spring, though this time around he will be spreading holiday cheer. Daniel will be driving around town with holiday music playing and waving to kids of all ages while dressed as Santa Claus in the back of his pickup truck.
“Since we’re not able to get together on the Green for the tree lighting, I thought I’ll load up the pickup truck with giant speakers blasting some good old Christmas tunes dressed as Santa,” says Daniel. “I usually enjoy the tree lighting every year, whether it’s going down with the fire department or the kids. I love taking the kids down.”
This year due to COVID, the Chamber of Commerce has moved the annual tree lighting festivities to a virtual format, which means there will be gathering on the green where Daniel’s children usually love the hayrides, bounce houses, and train rides.
“A lot of the reason I do things like this is for them,” says Daniel of his 4-year-old and 6-year-old. “I want them to see the right thing to do. When people are at their lowest, we need to be at our highest.”
This won’t be the first time that Daniel’s children will see their father give his time and energy to the community. Earlier this year in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daniel was looking for ways to lift the spirits of those in the community.
“I felt hopeless just sitting around the house on my hands and a buddy of mine from the firehouse had speakers, so I borrowed them from him,” says Daniel. “I was a guy with an iPhone and a big set of speakers in the back of my pickup truck driving around just hoping to make people smile.”
Daniel was one of several East Haven residents who entertained those in the community after the lockdown was initiated in March. He—and several others—spent many nights driving through different neighborhoods as a traveling DJ, giving a “shoutout to the guys who did it before me and with me last time.”
With a reputation growing as a drive-around DJ, Daniel participated in several birthday parades. To cap off the springtime fun, Daniel spent a day driving the Easter bunny around town. His children often rode along with him, though he says their favorite event to participate in was the East Haven Proud parade.
“My girl was the Easter Bunny because the costume was a little snug on me,” laughs Daniel. “This time I’ll have someone drive me as Santa. I know people are upset they can’t bring their kids to the Green or the mall to sit on Santa’s lap. We’re going decorate the truck with lights, posters, and messages of hope.”
Daniel posted his plan on The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page, asking residents to share the names of streets that would like a Santa drive-by. The response has been overwhelming with nearly 200 requests for Santa sightings.
Because the response has been so big and based on his experience at Easter, Daniel has reached out to the community to rally the elves. He is hoping that there are others willing to don a Santa suit, blast some holiday music, and pick up a route. Anyone interested can message him through Facebook or by posting on “The Great 2020 Santa Truck List” event page on Facebook.
“For right now, it’s just going to be me, so I’ll break it down and find a starting point and make my way from one end of town to the other,” says Daniel. “I’m hoping to find some other people to suit up so we can coordinate and make sure every kid gets to see Santa.”
Daniel also requested help with mapping routes and logging the requested addresses and a community member was quick to step up. While there have certainly been challenges in 2020, seeing community members help each other has been one of the highlights of the year for Daniel.
“Some say that 2020 has been such a terrible year, but it hasn’t,” says Daniel. “I’ve seen people come out to help their neighbors more than ever. In life, we can be indifferent or even downright mean to each other sometimes, but when things go south, people come out for each other.”
Daniel strongly feels that everyone can do something to help the community. As a machine operator at a steel mill, he works 65 hours a week, often on overnight shifts. Despite his schedule, Daniel has been a volunteer firefighter for the past six years, having been involved on and off with the Explorers since he was a teenager.
“People say, ‘I wish I had more time [to volunteer], but I work 12 ½-hour shifts and give the kids time and attention and still find ways to help the community,” says Daniel. “There are so many way to help in this town: the food bank, the Greenway Trail, senior housing, the animal shelter. Facebook is a great resource to connect with people and find where you’re needed.
“Pick something you’re good at and try to find a way to apply it to the community,” adds Daniel. “I love to have fun, make people smile, and have a pickup truck, so this works for me.”
Daniel will be sharing Santa’s route on The Good Things About East Haven Facebook page and he is thankful to the administrators on that page for their efforts. Santa will be ready to wave to residents young and old as his decorated truck is slowly driven through neighborhoods playing music.
“We will be driving by and waving, so we’re not breaking social distancing,” says Daniel. “We’ll slow down for people to take pictures, but we don’t want kids running up to the truck so no one gets hurt.”
Daniel is excited to get back out into the community to brighten people’s days.
“While everyone has seen 2020 as a truly horrible year full of anger, stress, and mobbing stores for basic necessities, I’ve seen the people in community’s around the nation just like ours come together with hope and love,” he says. “People have had to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of modern life and really take stock of what’s important to them and what really matters in life.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .