Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were special guests at the 10th annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Dinner at the Anza Community Hall Saturday, Dec. 2.
As dusk faded into night, the famous Anza Christmas tree exploded with colorful lights and a bright star at the top, inspiring oohs and aaahs from the throng of revelers.
Later, people crowded into the Community Hall for a spaghetti dinner with all the extras, including salads, other pasta dishes and even freshly baked cookies provided by the Pizza Factory.
“This was an exciting tree lighting. Lots of families enjoyed dinner with Santa,” Community Hall Board President Noel Donahue said. “Great job to everyone who made this night possible.”
The Clauses entertained fans both young and old and handed out special gift bags to the children. Joyful faces full of anticipation were the predicted result.
“Santa and Mrs. Claus did a great job making the children happy. Each child received a very nice gift during their visit with Santa, and parents were provided a great opportunity for a Christmas picture. We also enjoyed the freshly baked cookies and hot cocoa,” Darlene Stone said, whose granddaughter Patricia excitedly showed off her new necklace and earring set, a present from Kriss Kringle.
Many sponsors and volunteers came together to make the evening a success, including High Country Boys and Girls Club, The Anza Chamber of Commerce, the Community Hall, ERA Realty, Anza Electric Cooperative, Pizza Factory, Lorraine’s Pet Supply, Western Eagle Foundation, Louis Ippolito and countless volunteers.
“After moving from the big city to our small town, Christmas seems to be more meaningful. I think it’s because we have so many people willing to give. The spirit of Christmas lives in Anza,” Patrick Vesey said.
The highlight of the evening was the children’s consultations with Santa Claus. The children felt quite accomplished after discussing their Christmas wishes with the jolly old fellow. Lake Riverside resident Teri Morelli brought her disabled son to the celebration; he was mesmerized by the festive, fun atmosphere and the attention of St. Nick and his lovely wife.
“The last time that Zakry – now 28 years old – got his picture taken with Santa was when he was back in high school. It is very difficult for someone with all his special needs to conquer the hustle and bustle of a crowded shopping mall and long lines to wait to see Santa,” Morelli said. “Zakry and I are so grateful for this opportunity to see Santa and Mrs. Claus and the fabulous dinner provided by all the generous sponsors. Thank you so much.”
Robyn Garrison helped organize the event.
“It’s all about making people smile. A little fun, a little food, Santa and a lot of love,” Garrison said.
For more information about upcoming events at the Community Hall, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/groups/337754646415866/?ref=br_rs.