By Jamie A. Hunt & C.J. Barbre

Needy families picked out by the Farmersville school district received very large early Christmas presents of decorated or undecorated Christmas trees that were given to them at the Farmersville community tree lighting ceremony or delivered to them on the weekend if they could not attend the ceremony.

Kiwanian John Alvarez, host of the Farmersville ceremony for about 10 years, purchased the 30 trees; five from each of the six schools in Farmersville.

The festivities began around 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 which started with a Christmas tree ornament contest. The 1,000 ornaments that had been entered into the contest by the six schools were used by participants at the ceremony to decorate the trees being given away to needy families. The winners of the ornament contest were given $20, $15 and $10 gift certificates to Wal-Mart.

Santa arrived in a Farmersville antique fire engine and settled quickly in his chair, getting ready for a busy night. Little children were led up to Santa by their families, babies held up to Santa, and older children with their mothers, fathers, or other family members stood in line waiting to quickly talk to Santa and tell him their wish for Christmas. Santa intently listened to each child, often hugging them, or settling them on his lap so they could tell him their wish. Santa and his helpers handed out 800 bags of toys and candy to children and their parents sometimes speaking with parents or with much older family members waiting in line.

Kiwanis members gave out 60 dozen cookies and 700 bags of popcorn to children and adults. Bethel Spanish Church gave out 400 hot chocolates while Calvary Holiness Church gave out 1,000 hot dogs.

Alvarez lit the Farmersville Christmas tree after Santa arrived. &#8220We usually start the ceremony at about 5:45 when Santa arrives. We were so busy this year, that I was a little late lighting the tree,” said Alvarez. The community Christmas tree was about 10-12 feet tall and beautifully decorated with lights, ornaments and garlands. There was a mariachi band that started playing at about 6 p.m. after much testing of the amplification system. They played some lively music in the bitter cold while the hot chocolate booth run by Bethel Spanish was swamped and Calvary Holiness Church hot dog booth was doing a bustling job handing out delicious &#8220dogs” to people trying to stay warm.”This is our 5th or 6th year handing out our hot dogs,” said Debra Valosin,” our church just loves getting involved with the community.” Families started to leave the festivities as the night got colder and take their Christmas trees. Jolly Santa was still handing out gifts. &#8220The ceremony didn't last as long as usual this year, we were able to take care of everyone that showed up for the ceremony, they usually come and get their gifts and trees and leave. We were well-organized this year,” said Alvarez. &#8220On Saturday and Sunday we delivered all the left over trees to people who were either unable to attend the ceremony or did not have transportation.”

Santa Night makes a happy Christmas in Lindsay

As always, they were lined up about five across for the entire length of a city block, from Honolulu to Samoa streets, waiting for Santa, for Santa Night hosted by the Lindsay Reserve Police Officers, Volunteer Firefighters and Auxiliary, the Police Explorers and generally everyone within the Lindsay Department of Public Safety.

This year Santa showed up standing up in one of the brand new hybrid police cars and waving out the sunroof. He would have lots of candy canes to give out while his helpers handed out roughly 2,000 toys, no questions asked, to any youngster willing to wait in line.

Karina Chavez, 4, so wanted that candy cane, but the guy in red with a big white beard was a scary specter.

Julian Magana, just 6 months, wasn't all that sure about the jolly old elf either, but his sister, Senahi, 4, was a pro, having gotten her photo in the paper last year.

Meanwhile good little boys made off with their toys, for a happy Christmas to all and a special thanks to the sponsors listed below without whom this night would not have been possible.

Myers Funeral Service

Orangewood Mobile Manor

Kiwanis Club of Lindsay

R-N Market

Patricia Henderson Fuller

Landmark Realty

Dr. Bob Chiurazzi

Melissa Lucas

La Fortuna Bakery

Quality Mart

Lindsay Wash Station

Guillermo Gallegos

Don Bessey, CPA

Uniform Connection

Jess auto Repair

Tienken Realty

Laurel Mayer

Gayle S. Johnson

Michael Lenihan

Sequoia Tow

Lindsay Volunteer Fire Department

Nat and Angie Wilson

K.C. & L.M. Wynn

A donation was also made on behalf of Stacy Pederson in memory of Isabella Rose Wilson.

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