Children oohed and aahed outside the Wake County Eastern Regional Center Thursday as Santa Claus made an entrance in VIP fashion.
Both Santa and Mrs. Claus caught a ride on a Zebulon fire engine to the center’s 13th annual Christmas party, where children got to spend time and take photos with Santa before selecting age-appropriate gifts and cookies.
The center’s staff and Community Advisory Committee put on the event each year, distributing hundreds of gifts with the help of area businesses, churches, organizations and individuals.
For many children, the event offers a first encounter with Santa. For many families, it has become a tradition and something they’ve relied on annually as a helping hand at Christmastime.
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This year’s donors for the event were Gay, Jackson & McNally LLP, Wakefield Central Baptist Church, East Wake Academy, Hurricanes Angel Tree, St. Eugene Catholic Church, Wendell United Methodist Church, Lisa Tyson, Riley Hill Baptist Church, Knightdale Pharmacy, McLean’s Ole Time Cafe, US Foods, the Zebulon Fire Department, Ruben Cason and the center’s staff.