‘Tis the season

Breakfast with Santa

Nearly 850 children and adults attended Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 6 at the Oakhurst Community Center. The event is sponsored by the Sierra-Oakhurst Kiwanis Club, who prepared the pancake breakfast under the direction of club member Mike Lindman.

The large, festive crowd went through 3,000 links of sausage, 1,600 pancakes, 720 eggs, 50 pounds of sliced ham, and 30 gallons each of orange juice and milk.

Books, provided by Sierra Tel, and stuffed animals, provided by the Mountain Bear Fan Club, were given to each child, and plenty of photos were taken of children with Santa.

Assisting at the event were members of the Yosemite High School Key and Interact clubs, Soroptimist International of the Sierras, and Oakhurst Scout Troop 341.

Robert Marmon of Coarsegold was at the event with his children Robert, 7, and Sofia, 6.

“The kids had a fun time ... good food and a great Santa,” Robert said. “It’s good to see a big turn-out, and the community support for a wonderful event.”

The fundraising breakfast raised $1,000 for the Children’s Museum of the Sierra, and other Kiwanis Club service projects.

Christmas at Fresno Flats

The Sierra Historic Sites Association turned back the clock Dec. 7, hosting its annual Old-Fashion Christmas at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park. The historic buildings at Fresno Flats were decorated for the Holiday season with period decorations and open for tours. Activities included a visit from Father Christmas, a Christmas gift shop, and Christmas carols by the Oakhurst Chamber Singers.

It’s a Wonderful Life

The 1946 classic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart and Donna Reed came to life last weekend at the Sierra Pines Church.

Directed by Heather Sconce, and assisted by Ken Marks, the musical production features a cast of 50, with Sconce playing the female lead role of Mary Bailey and Jordan Michel portraying the husband, George Bailey.

The adaptation breathes musical life into a familiar story, while retaining the warmth and humor of the original movie.

“The movie is so special, because it is full of hope, love, and angels,” Sconce said.

“The memories of seeing the movie with friends and family left a lasting glow in my heart and mind, and I can only hope that our audience will take away that same feeling from their experience,” Michel said.

The production will be performed three more times: This Friday and Saturday (Dec. 12 and 13) at 7 p.m., with the final show Sunday (Dec. 14) at 2 p.m. at Sierra Pines Church, 40855 Covey Court and Highway 49. Santa will be in the lobby before each show, starting an hour before curtain.

Tickets: $12 for adults, $8 children 10 and under. Tickets available at the door or at Details: Heather Sconce, (559) 760-4562,

Golden Chain Christmas show

To the delight of both children and adults, the Golden Chain Theatre’s Christmas variety show was performed last weekend. It was the 47th year that Pattie Law Poggi directed and choreographed the Holiday spectacular featuring a cast of 50 dancers (young and not so young), singers and elves (large and small).

For health reasons, Santa went a short vacation to Hawaii, Ireland, Holland, and Mexico before his big night of delivering toys around the world. On each stop, he was greeted by dancers of that country.

In addition to performances by children from throughout the Mountain Area, the Grub Gulch Grannies, Grub Gulch Dancers,and Law’s Tiny Tots performed.

Toys for Tots

The Toy Round-Up, the largest event of the season for the Marine Corps League Griswold Mountain Detatchment 1121 was held Dec. 6 in the parking lot of the Old Mill Shopping Center (Vons). According to this year’s toy drive coordinator, Dennis Osantowski, detachment volunteers collected nearly 300 toys and about $3,000 in cash donations during the six-hour event.

The detachment was assisted by Madera County Fire Department Station 12 (Oakhurst) and Cal Fire’s Bass Lake and Ahwahnee stations.

The Yosemite High School Cheer and Pep squads held a bake sale throughout the day and donated $1,355 to Toys for Tots. An additional $200 was donated by Round Table Pizza from pizza sales that day.

This year’s toy drive ends Dec. 15, when, by the end of the day, about 90 donation bins throughout Eastern Madera County at businesses, schools, and churches, will be picked up with toys sorted by age and gender and prepared for distribution. Osantowski said more toys for girls are needed - for 10-13 year olds and girls 14 and up.

Last year 4,000 toys with a value of $60,000 were distributed to about 1,400 children in the Mountain Area.

Osantowski said it has been a trying year for area families with the drought, fires in Coarsegold, Oakhurst, and Bass Lake areas, unexpected layoffs, and general economic conditions.

“Toys for Tots was started in 1947 for exactly these sort of reasons - when communities come together to help those in need,” Osantowski added.

Secret Gift Store

A new event this Holiday season was the Dec. 6 Secret Gift Store at the Children’s Museum of the Sierra on Golden Oak Drive. The event allowed children to purchase gifts for their parents with free ‘museum dollars’ provided to them by the museum.

Children were assisted by museum volunteers in selecting just the right gifts, in a special room that was off-limits to parents. Volunteers then wrapped the presents for the children.

-Staff report