IMPERIAL â€” Roxanna Felix carefully placed her one-month-old daughter, Emma, on the lap of Santa Claus as Emmaâ€™s elder sister, Sophia, 6, watched her baby sister being held by the jolly man in a red suit. They took their places sitting next to Santa on a sleigh â€”which was painted bright red with white trimmings.
â€œThis is our first picture together with Santa Claus,â€ Felix said with a smile.
Yuletide wishers and shoppers meandered, occasionally visiting booths that caught their fancy on either side of the street which was decorated for the holidays. On this stretch of the street, people from all walks of life strolled on a Saturday mid-morning that extended to the early afternoon during the Christmas in a Small Town event in Imperial.
Santa and his sleigh were parked at the intersection of Imperial Ave. and Barioni Blvd. in Imperial, and occupied a central section between 6th to 10th streets which were blocked for the dayâ€™s event.
The event hosted young and old alike as a young mother pushed her baby in a stroller, a father carried his daughter on his shoulders. A young girl ate her sweetened snow cone while a teenager with painted face walked with her crutches under her arms.
Phyllis Garcia, an artisan who owns Patterson Wood Crafts based in Heber, showcased her products called Christmas pole people. Basically these were pieces of lumber about three feet tall, painted to emulate characters of angels, penguins, bespectacled grandparents, and even football players.
In the distance, the aroma of carne asada and tacos floated and mingled with the smell of crackling kettle corn.
Giovanna Gamboa and her family visited the event with her five-month old daughter, Tessa.
â€œIâ€™m here enjoying a beautiful day with my family, and it’s the babyâ€™s first Christmas,” Gamboa said. â€œWe found a cute little outfit and some bows.â€
Meanwhile, on one side of the street was a stage for musicians. According to an Imperial Chamber of Commerce staff member, several individuals and bands played including third graders from Ben Hulse Elementary School, Harlem Jazz, Capital 64, and the Imperial Valley College Music Department.
In a long-standing tradition, Mrs. Marian Long, 88, sang her own composition of â€œChristmas in a Small Town,â€ a song she has performed for the past 24 years.