Heber — Children arrived at the Heber Community Center and Library with excitement and anticipation in meeting Santa Claus Saturday evening. Each had their own wish list.
The Andrade brothers were among them. Luis Carlos, 6, and Luis Anthony, 5, held their gifts as they sat on Santa’s lap smiling for their mother’s camera.
“It was awesome. I got a book of Marvel Superheroes,” Luis Carlos said.
“I got an adventure book I want my mom to read,” his younger brother Luis Anthony said. His mother Denise Andrade smiled. She knew she had some readings to do at home.
Norma Figueroa quickly handed her cell phone to her son Samuel, 9, instructing him to take a photo of his six-year-old sister, Naomi, seated on the lap of Santa Claus. Upon seeing her brother, she obliged with a smile unmindful of the other children waiting for their turn with Santa.
“We are very thankful for the Heber library,” said Figueroa, pleased to see her three children enjoying the evening fun.
Before Santa Claus arrived volunteers kept the children busy with a variety of games, arts, and crafts.
Four tables were set on one side of the room, opposite Santa’s chair with craft materials needed to complete a child’s project. Children went to each table to make reindeer decorations, reindeer bags, wreaths, and wish lists for Santa Claus.
Volunteer Gloria Romero helped the children create reindeer bags, complete with eyes, red noses, and pronged antlers. Ana Verdugo, also a volunteer, patiently guided each child on how to make wreaths using paper plates, pre-cut colored construction paper, glue, pencils and stickers.
Children played ring and bag toss games. It was followed by a book reading of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell.”
When word spread Santa Claus was nearby, the thrilled children were guided out of the room, meeting him at the library’s walkway entrance. Santa arrived riding on top of the Imperial County fire truck, waving as he entered the library.
Forty boys and girls each received book presents from Santa Claus that evening according to County Librarian Crystal Duran.
Capt. Luis Andrade, Imperial County Fire Department Station 2 in Heber, said, “Our role here is to bring Santa Claus and just be here and have the kids enjoy the firetruck.”
Soon, firefighters helped children on the driver’s seat of the fire engine. Parents whipped their cell phones and took photos of their children. Flashes from their phones brightened the evening.