Dozens of children lined up along Highway 41 in front of Oakhurst’s 60-foot tall Christmas Tree Dec. 5 as Santa Claus, in a fire engine with flashing lights and horn sounding into the night, arrived at the Oakhurst Community Christmas Tree Lighting.
More than 1,000 people, a large number children, enjoyed some 800 free hot dogs, pony rides, a bounce house, cinnamon rolls, and a collection of other goodies, as well as carols by the Yosemite High School Chamber Singers before Santa’s arrival and the lighting of the Christmas tree.
“This is very exciting for us because we get to come out and enjoy this big event, it’s almost like a festival,” said Brooke Wilkins, with her daughter Cora, 1, in tow. “It’s a great time.”
The annual tree lighting was expanded this year to the parking lot in front of the recently-opened Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau office near Century 21 Ditton Realty and Crab Cakes Restaurant. Sponsors also included Sierra Tel and several other organizations and businesses.
Deep in thought, Keira Hamilton, 8, sat slowly eating her pancakes. She had a big question facing her following the meal. What would she tell Santa she wanted for Christmas? Mom’s boyfriend, Sal Enriquez, knew what he wanted, if he had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap, that is - “a Hulk Hogan Action Figure,” he teased. Keira’s mom, Kelly Pickens, said that all she really wanted was for everyone to have a happy Christmas.
More than 700 children and adults attended Breakfast with Santa last Saturday at the Oakhurst Community Center. The annual event is sponsored by the Sierra-Oakhurst Kiwanis Club, who prepared the pancake breakfast, complete with sausage and eggs.
Mountain Bear Fan Club donated 500 stuffed animals for the children to select from, after sitting on Santa’s lap to tell him what they hoped to find under the Christmas tree.
Santa said his elves have been busy all year working in his North Pole toy factory, so he should be right on schedule, shimmying down chimneys Christmas Eve with that very special gift for all the good boys and girls.