Thursday, December 18, 2014 • 02:31

Santa greets children at 'Christmas in the Valley'

Santa takes care of business at Christmas in the Valley.
December 17, 2014
Instead of arriving in his customary sleigh drawn by reindeer, Santa traveled to Bates Nut Farm on a hayride Saturday afternoon to celebrate "Christmas in the Valley."

Throughout the day, children with their families stood in line to board the Polar Express Hayride bound for the North Pole. Upon arriving at the North Pole workshop, kids were greeted by Santa and his helpers who handed out gifts. The helpers on hand to assist with festivities and entertain the kids were high school student volunteers and Key Club members.

Long, flowing white curtains draped the entrance to Santa's workshop that had just received a fresh coat of white paint. Walls of the shop were decorated with white wreaths, ornaments, and lots of snowflakes, all of which gave Santa's workshop the chilly impression of a recent snowfall in the arctic winter land.

All bundled up standing by the workshop door, children waited their turn to whisper wish lists to Santa. Among those standing in line was Christina Braxmeyer with her three sons. Braxmeyer is the Committee Chairman for Valley Center Cub Scouts Pack 619.

"We come every year," said Braxmeyer who has attended all four annual Christmas Valley events. "The Scouts helped the Optimists sell tacos this year. It's really fun and I especially like the crafts.'

There were games and free crafts for everyone. In addition to Christmas presents, free T-shirts for children below fifth grade were provided by generous donations from the Rincon Tribe and Valley View Casino.

In the Gingerbread Village, children were busy building gingerbread houses to take home. The fourth annual Gingerbread House Contest awarded prizes to the family, club, church, and school group creating the best gingerbread houses. In addition, cash prizes were given. Every participant received a certificate of participation. Throughout the weekend, gingerbread houses remained on exhibit with winning entries on display in the Bates Nut Store.

Decorated with Christmas trees, the store was filled with barrels of assorted candy, containers of nuts and dried fruit, tins of tea, an array of salsa, and novelty gifts for the holiday shopper. What the store didn't offer could be found on the Farm grounds lined with vendors displaying varied ware including specialty handcrafted items.

During the weekend, free entertainment was provided featuring music performed by the high school band in addition to local music groups singing Christmas carols. There was Christmas Karaoke for the children as well as storytelling.

A free children's celebration, Christmas in the Valley is sponsored by Tri-Valley Medical Center. It is a Valley Center tradition when businesses, churches, and service clubs join together to provide the Christmas celebration.

"It is a joy to see how much caring goes into this event by the many community volunteers who come together to entertain the children of the community," said Christmas in the Valley Committee Member Marty Burstein. "Working together, the community has created a safe and fun two-day Christmas celebration in Valley Center for our children and their families."

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