Throngs of families came out to see Santa during the 49th annual El Dorado Hills Firefighters Association Santa Run through El Dorado Hills last week. The Santa Run reached nearly every park, school and neighborhood in its five-night run, culminating with a grand finale through Town Center Sunday night.
On Saturday night Santa and Mrs. Claus visited schools on the north side of El Dorado Hills, with stops at Jackson Elementary, Lakeview and what the Fire Department calls its largest single turnout besides the finale — Lake Forest Elementary, where upwards of 200 people attended. Not even the cancellation of the PTC provided cookies and hot chocolate at Lake Forest because of inclement weather could keep the people away, or dampen their spirits.
At every location little ones crowded around Santa and Mrs. Claus, sharing their Christmas lists and posing for photos.
Led by a fleet of fire trucks and two Elf Deployment Vehicles, every night felt like a rock concert. The big guy in red arrived to a background of upbeat Christmas music atop the largest fire truck of all before climbing down a candy cane ladder to mingle with his adoring fans.
Good little boys and girls were ready with their Toys for Tots and canned goods to donate for the needy. Fire department officials said their goal was to collect 4,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank of El Dorado County. That amount, as well as the number of nights the Santa Parade runs each year, has grown along with the size of the community.
“We used to be able to cover the entire district in one night,” said EDH Fire Chief Dave Roberts, who sported an elf costume, complete with pointy hat, during the Santa Run. “We now need five nights. It’s grown a lot.”