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Published December 14th, 2016
Santa Makes Annual Appearance in Lafayette to Usher in Holidays
Photo Gint Federas

Hark! It wasn't exactly the herald angels singing, but the next best thing: angelic children from a variety of local venues entertaining a park full of families for the annual Wonderful Life in Lafayette event at Plaza Park earlier this month.
Between the charming music, the enticing aroma of complimentary popcorn and other goodies, and kids giddy with anticipation of Santa rolling in on historic "Old Betsy," the downtown park was ground zero for the best block party of the holiday season.
It's amazing how much good cheer one city block can hold. The patch of grass in the center of town, along with overflow onto Golden Gate Way was chock full of holiday spirit and friendly neighbors, lots of little ones ready to whisper their wishes to Santa, police officers giving out pencils and candy canes, and the first ever very cool snow globe that families could step into and have their picture taken.
Donica Katayanagi was lined up with son Rocky, 4 and daughter Penny, 6, waiting to chat with the bearded man in red. Apparently the kids are smitten with all things related to the Disney film "Moana." Rocky is planning to ask Santa for a Moana Lego set and Penny would like a Moana princess dress.
This year, the stage was front and center for the Stanley Middle School Chorus, which kicked things off at 4 p.m.; they were followed by the Lafayette Nursery School, Lamorinda Theatre Academy, Town Hall Theatre and finally the White Horse Youth Corale. Parents, grandparents, and kids found it hard to resist the sing-a-long to classic Christmas tunes that accompanied the tree lighting.
It took a lot of TLC to get the 1922 firetruck up and running to be Santa's special sleigh from its usual home at the Library to Plaza Park, reports Santa's chauffer, John Kallio. To keep the riffraff at bay, Santa and Kallio had a police motorcycle escort complete with blaring siren to announce the big man's visit. Right on cue, Bing Crosby crooned "Here Comes Santa Claus" to welcome his arrival.
This festive evening tradition is sponsored by the Dana Green Team and Branagh Development, along with the Lafayette Chamber, and made possible with the assistance of many volunteers, including Boy Scouts, National Charity League folks, and expert master of ceremonies, Julia Glyde. Thirsty attendees enjoyed complimentary coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider care of Double Perks in Lafayette, and since it was right around dinner time, Mangia had pizza available, and the Chamber sponsored the always-welcome bar. The Green Team and Branagh also generously underwrite the sparkling twinkle lights that add a glowing ambiance to the downtown throughout December. It really is a wonderful life in Lafayette, when residents can be grateful for supportive families, Santa comes to town, and there's hot chocolate for everyone.

Local youth groups performed at It's A Wonderful Life in Lafayette. Photo Gint Federas

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