FAIRFIELD — Santa Claus came early this year to visit 200 families Saturday morning at the Courtyard by Marriott in Fairfield.
He arrived by a Suisun City fire truck at the hotel for the Kiwanis Club of Fairfield annual Christmas breakfast. Children greeted him and then sat down in a banquet room for a breakfast of eggs and potatoes as “White Christmas” and other Christmas carols played.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the kids,” said Dionne McCullar of the Kiwanis Club.
Five nonprofits participated in the event. They were Children’s Nurturing Project, Heather House, Mission Solano, Child Haven and Solano Community College Foster & Kinship Care Education.
Gina Merrell of Fairfield came with her adopted daughter, 8-year-old Amanda, and 6-year-old Wesley, whom she is adopting.
“It’s a great thing to do for all these foster kids and kids going through so much in their personal lives,” Merrell said. “This brings a little bit of normality to their lives. It’s a fantastic thing.”
Wesley had a favorite part of the morning.
“Meeting Santa Claus and getting presents,” he said.
But what would he ask Santa to bring him?
“I don’t know,” Wesley said with a smile, then quickly settled on a race car track.
Amanda sat looking at an iPad. She wants anything for her iPad.
Tyffany and Peter Wanberg of Vacaville came with 4-year-old Victor, their adopted son. Victor has come to the annual Kiwanis Christmas breakfast since he was 10 months old, for all of his Christmases.
“He loves the fire truck even more than Santa,” Tyffany Wanberg said. “He loves people, being around the other kids. It’s a good morning. They do a really good job. It makes things just a little more special, I think.”
Victor had his Christmas list ready for Santa. He wanted a Thomas the Tank Engine train – Thomas is a favorite with him — and to go to Disneyland.
Santa sat at the front of the room next to a Christmas tree that, appropriately enough, had decorative Santa heads as its main motif. Why had he come to Fairfield so early, given that he usually waits until Christmas Eve?
“It’s going to be a hard winter and Santa has to get an early start, unless he gets stuck in the snow,” Santa said.
Soon, the children were allowed to come to him. Families got their photographs taken with him.
Tyffany Wanberg said the Kiwanis Club breakfast is really the start of her family’s Christmas season.
Helping with the event were First Northern Bank, Chick-fil-A and Yippie Yogurt, as well as Courtyard by Marriott.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.