FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. – Nothing says ‘the holidays are here’ quite like Santa parachuting into town from an airplane.

Eager kids and parents scan the sky the first Saturday in December each year waiting to see the Jolly Old Elf launch from a plane and make his way to the beach where photos and hugs are a plenty.

Santa’s arrival via airplane has become a tradition for the Flagler Beach holiday season and marks the start of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach’s Holiday at the Beach Parade along Ocean Shore Boulevard’s A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.

Residents mixed with snowbirds, here for the season, lined up along A1A to get a front row seat for the parade, emceed by Flagler Beach Rotarians Cindy Dalecki and Bob Snyder.

Dozens of clubs, organizations and businesses decked out in their finest holiday attire greeted thousands of well-wishers on Saturday, before making a special stop at the judge’s table where Mike Crave, Sheryl Knopf and Julie Leopard had the tough job of narrowing it down to the best of the best.

Ultimately, Flagler County’s Board of County Commissioners walked away with the ‘Most Creative’ award, while the Parrotheads nabbed the award for ‘Best Holiday Spirit’, the Flagler Palm Coast High School Band delivered the ‘Best Performance’, and the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Motorcycle Unit rode away with the ‘Judge’s Choice’ award.

Courtney VandeBunte has been taking part in the holidays at the beach and surfing in the wintertime since she was young and now her own children are getting to enjoy the experience.

“This is the perfect Christmas in Florida because where else can you see Santa skydiving to the beach and wearing flip flops. I remember watching Santa skydive when I was a teenager so to see my kids enjoy it and experience it is pretty awesome. Flagler Beach really hasn’t changed. Even though there’s a giant hotel being built, it’s still the same quaint Flagler Beach that we all love.”

The Holiday at the Beach Parade is part of a holiday extravaganza weekend in Flagler Beach which opened up with First Friday’s presentation of Flagler Schools’ students performing for the community. The evening included the Lighting of the Deck Chairs in Veterans Park as part of the annual Starry Nights holiday experience throughout Flagler Beach, led by the Flagler Beach Business Bureau, the City of Flagler Beach, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches, and partners.

For more information, visit www.StarryNights.com.