Saugerties fire company prepares for annual candy run

Firefighters from the C.A. Lynch Hose Company are surrounded by the 1100 boxes of chocolate they will be handing out on their Christmas candy run.

For the 98th year, members of the C.A. Lynch Hose Company expect to go on their annual candy run Christmas morning. The firefighters from the south-side fire company have passed out candy to Saugerties youngsters.

The Lynch hose company just celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Before Lynch was organized, other fire companies occupied the firehouse. They began the candy run tradition, and Lynch faithfully continued it.


And an impressive tradition it is. This past Sunday, firefighters gathered at the firehouse and packed 1100 boxes of chocolate M&Ms, and chocolate Santas provided by Krause Chocolate. “They give us a really good deal,” reported assistant fire chief Scott Campbell.

Funds to buy the candy comes from donations made to the fire company, Campbell said. Anyone can donate to the effort by making out a check to the C.A. Lynch Candy Run. Send it to the village hall at 43 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY 12477.

Joined by firefighters from the uptown (Partition Street) firehouse and by Santa, firefighters make two runs through the village on Christmas.

The morning Santa is Charles Meiswinkel, who will be continuing a family tradition. His dad, Charles Meiswinkel, who passed away this year, played Santa for a number of years.

And in the afternoon Earl Martin IV will be continuing his family’s tradition that began with his great-grandfather. “My grandfather and dad didn’t play Santa, but my great-grandfather did,” explained Warren, “and it’s his tradition that I’ve been continuing for the last three years.”

In all  modesty, Martin added that he was “the cool Santa.” He wears sunglasses and will dance with the kids. If the kids ask, Martin might just break out into a Christmas carol.

Why do they do the candy run year after year? Martin said it was because of the look on the faces of the kids — and of the older people. “They just love getting candy, seeing Santa, and the fire truck,” Martin said.

Martin said his heart melts when he sees an elderly person standing in their doorway watching the candy run. They may remember getting candy from a firefighter in their childhood. “When I see these older folks, I get off the back of the truck, and hand-deliver the candy to them at their door,” Martin said, “and they are just so excited to see me. It’s the best part of the day.”

When the firefighters sent out the request for bids for a new fire truck two years ago, thy specified that the rear apron on the truck be made larger than traditional so there would be room for Santa and the candy.

Who likes the candy the most? The Wilseys. The Wilseys, who own the Seamon-Wilsey Funeral Home, love the chocolate. Most years, firefighters said about 40 people will pile out of the Wilsey home to great Santa and the firefighters. “It’s great, they’re so enthusiastic,” Campbell said.

This year’s candy run will begin about 8 a.m. and last until all the streets in the village have been covered. Residents will know that Santa is coming when they hear the fire sirens coming from the truck.

“Come on out, meet Santa, and take home some chocolate,” Campbell said, inviting one and all.