Eric Bullock, President and CEO of Culture is K.E.Y., dawned a red and white coat, his best red and white hat and with the white beard to match, Bullock chanted “ho, ho, ho” across the firetruck intercom as he rode through the city of Trenton. 

Santa waves to Trenton Residents as the Trenton Fire Department Escorts him through the city. Photo | Drew Mumich

Two years prior, before the Christmas of 20, Bullock and his wife were reminiscing about their childhood Christmas. They talked about the traditions that they had been a part of; one of them being Santa coming down their streets in a big red fire truck. “I don’t remember seeing Santa Claus come through the city of Trenton,” Bullock said. 

He decided to change that by having the first annual Santa Firetruck ride through the city in partnership with the Trenton Fire Department.

In December of 2020,  Santa rode a firetruck and greeted the community on the streets of Trenton as kids ran up from their houses to wave and cheer.  On the Thursday, before Christmas 2021, they brought the same Christmas spirit to Trenton. Once the sirens stopped and Santa parked in front of City Hall, kids lined up to sit on his lap, and parents received presents for their children to open on Christmas.  

This year included a lot more presents. Eric’s wife Kaneda Bullock, said they liked what they did last year but wanted to add more. They partnered with local businesses across the city who donated to the event. “This has been one of the first times that a lot of business owners, said ‘hey we want to be involved’; and we were able to, thankfully, put it all together and have nonprofit and business owners come together and provide this for the city,” said Mrs. Bullock. 

Marianne Maldonado, a Trenton resident and mother of two, explained that her children were just excited to see Santa and talk to him.  “They’re really into Santa,” Maldonado said, “And although the is year hasn’t been the best for us, I  don’t want to break her spirits, anytime we can see Santa, I take her.” Maldonado’s oldest child received an Ariel doll from the event. 

Throughout the night, parents came and were helped by volunteers like Community Activist Crystal Feliciano, who gave out toys from board games to stuffed animals for kids up to 12 years old. “It’s organizations like Culture is K.E.Y. that help show just how awesome, diversified, and unique our city is. Congratulations to the organization, The City of Trenton, and the Trenton Fire Department on another successful event.  It was my pleasure to be in attendance as well as to serve,” Feliciano said.

For Eric Bullock, otherwise known as Santa, the only thing that matters is its effects on the kids. “There’s a lot of great people who live here,” Bullock said, “A lot of great kids who can be whatever they want to be. And hopefully, you know, today was one of those days where it was motivating for them just to do everything they can to be great.”