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Columbia City firemen hand out candy, oranges for Christmas

December 26, 2013

For more than a century, Columbia City’s fire department has been passing out candy and an orange at the Whitley County Courthouse on Christmas Eve. This year was no different, as children came downtown Tuesday night to visit Santa and receive their gifts. Pictured are firefighters Nathan Wilz, (left) Derek Jenkins (middle) and Jason McClanahan preparing sacks of candy and oranges. Linda McKee/Post & Mail photo.

COLUMBIA CITY — While Whitley County children were spending Christmas Eve preparing for the visit of Santa Claus, Columbia City’s firefighters were preparing to keep a tradition alive. CCFD firemen greeted children with bags of candy and an orange at the courthouse on Christmas Eve — a tradition that has been in place for more than a century.

“We’ve traced this (tradition) as far back as the 1880s,” said CCFD Chief Tom LaRue.

Although young residents may not think too much about the orange they were given, the children of the 1800s most likely did.

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