The 177 Perris residents who turned out for the 2015 version of the City’s “Breakfast with Santa” included those who haven’t missed the festivities in a decade as well as those looking to establish a new Yuletide tradition for their families.
For first-timers and long-standing supporters of the holiday goings-on, Breakfast with Santa provided the chance to enjoy a hearty breakfast, mingle with municipal staffers dressed as elves and take home a photo with Old Saint Nick himself.
A snow-making machine sent clouds of flakes into the air outside the Bob Glass Gymnasium, adding to the holiday feel. So did the nippy temperatures.
Allison Grayson said the holidays won’t be complete with a stop at the breakfast.
“This kicks off our Christmas season,” she said. “This is our community and it just keeps getting better and better. The City of Perris has embraced this event and has created a fun and loving atmosphere for us to enjoy it.”
Accompanying Grayson to the Dec. 19 celebration were her daughter, Ella Kay, 10, and sons, Riley, 12, and Wyatt, 14. Like it is every year, Breakfast with Santa provides the chance for youngsters to tell the big bearded guy what they hope to see under the Christmas tree. The Grayson kids said that the new 3-D version of Nintendo, Xbox 1, Play Station and Wii U topped their goodies list.
Ella Kay said she likes the City’s Breakfast with Santa because “he talks to me.” Her brothers come for the food, which included bacon, eggs, pancakes, hot chocolate and fruit-topped yogurt.
The holiday breakfast always attracts Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers. In recent years, her 4-year-old grandson, Jordan, accompanies her. This year marked the first time the event took place in the Glass Gymnasium, a bigger venue that the Senior Center which hosted the breakfast in previous years. More space for the kids and parents to spread out, enjoy the holiday spirit and atmosphere and make lasting memories.
“This is so exciting,” Rogers said. “The gym looks wonderful. Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year and a time for families to come together. As a community it’s important to encourage families to spend time together. It’s really exciting.”
Jordan’s wish list included race cars and Transformers.
Laura and Britton Bowns moved to Perris from Yuma, Ariz., earlier this year. They hope to start a new Yuletide tradition by attending Breakfast with Santa with their children, Annikah, 8, and Zurii, 19 months.
“It’s great to meet other people in the community and it’s great for our girls,” Laura Bowns said.
Shopkins figurines tops the toy list for the Bowns’ girls.
Erika and Mario Lopez were newbies too. They came with son Alexander, 6, and daughter, Natalie, six months.
“We are very excited to be here,” Erika Lopez said. “Just the experience of getting to see Santa is exciting for us.”
Pac-Man, Super Mario and Star Wars toys topped the list of goodies wanted by the youngsters at the Lopez home.
Fernando Chavarria was almost as excited as his wife, Brenda and children, Alessandra, 7, and Bruce Wayne, 5, to say hello to Santa. He usually misses the breakfast to work at his job as a dispatcher. Not in 2015 though.
“I’m 34 years old and it’s my first time to meet Santa!” he said.
Chavarria said Alessandra is wishing for a Barbie Dream House. With a son named Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman, it’s little wonder why his son is asking for a Bat Cave for Christmas.
Brenda Chavarria said she is pleased her family could sit down for a nice meal, visit with other residents, meet Santa and welcome in the season.
“We’re really fortunate to live in Perris because of all the great community events—including this one—that it puts on,” she said.