JACKSONVILLE — Santa Claus made his entrance in a helicopter this past weekend when he joined hundreds of runners with bells on during the third annual Jacksonville Jingle Jog 5K and Fun Run.

The family-oriented Saturday event, held at Christus Mother Frances Hospital–Jacksonville and sponsored by the hospital, was open to runners and walkers, adults and children.

The event course, which started at the hospital, took participants through the winding trails of the adjacent Nichols Green Park. Participants were given bells to jingle along the way.

Hospital Chief Operating Officer Anne Pileggi said the event has grown each year since it started in 2017.

“We had about 240 the first year, and about 265 last year. We actually sold out this year with 350 participants,” she said.

Proceeds from the event go to the local Rotary Club’s scholarship fund that supports Jacksonville High School graduating seniors who are seeking to further their education after graduation.