MISSOULA — Think back to the ’90s and early 2000s and you may recall the Santa Fly Over, a Missoula tradition that brought Santa to life each year right before Christmas.
The Santa figurine with its bright lights would fly over the Missoula Valley while strapped onto an airplane.
The last time Santa flew was 2005, but one local woman is determined to bring him back this year. Lynn Lease of Missoula told MTN News that the project has turned into a full-time job for her family.
From locating Santa on top of the RDO Equipment building, acquiring a crane to get him down, transporting him to the Sorensen Transport shop, and a slew of other steps -- it has been a massive undertaking.
Lease said there are countless people to thank for donating time, equipment and services. The Missoula Downtown Foundation has even stepped in as the fiscal sponsor for the event.
She has the Santa, she has the pilot, she even has a tentative date set for Dec. 19 but Lease still doesn't have the funds to make Santa fly.
A two-hour flight costs about $3,800, and additional funds will be needed for things like reimbursements and Santa maintenance.
According to Lease, the money needs to be secured by Tuesday, Dec. 15 in order to have Santa in the air before Christmas.
If they can pull it off, Lease feels the end result will be exactly what the community needs after such a long year.
“I can't even describe how it'll be,” said Lease. “I know watching my kids see it is going to be amazing. I'll be the one crying on the ground like for sure, I'm the Hallmark mom and I bawl my eyes out over every little thing."
"Even just thinking about getting him flying and being so close -- it makes me want to cry. It's going to be pure magic to see him up in the air," Lease added.
If you want to see Santa fly and bring a little Christmas magic to your family, visit their website. Once there, click the project dropdown and select "Santa Fly Over." All donations are tax deductible.