“Is it 8:30 yet?” more than one youngster could be heard asking their parents outside the Los Banos Community Center Saturday morning.
It was actually 8:35 when sirens blared and the fire engine arrived, delivering the big guy in his signature red suit, but no one complained about the extra wait.
Nearly 400 people braved the cold to attend Breakfast with Santa. The annual event took a slew of part-time staffers and volunteers to put on, but the smiles of happy children made it worth the effort.
“It’s always a lot of fun because it’s for the kids,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Stonegrove, five-year Breakfast with Santa volunteer. “It’s neat to see all the kids come out with their families. For many of them, it’s their first, or maybe their only, opportunity to see Santa.”
Joshua Russell was among those youngsters.
“There’s not a lot of places here where kids are going to have access to Santa. It’s not like a big city where they’re putting on at the mall or apartment complexes,” he said. “I think it’s pretty good.”
The breakfast included arts and crafts activities, an opportunity to write Christmas letters and a chance to take pictures with Santa.
For some families, Breakfast with Santa has become a tradition. Others parents, though, were working toward getting their children used to St. Nick.
“We brought him last year, but he was small. This year he’s kinda afraid of Santa,” said Diane Fabian of her 3-year-old son.
Fabian said it’s a nice family event.
“They have so much fun when they come over here. We love coming every year,” Fabian said.