By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Community Gatherings Usher In Holidays
Children sang, gifts were exchanged, holiday parties were enjoyed ... and students in the Escalon Unified School District are now enjoying a break that will take them into 2011.

The final day of school for this year was Friday, Dec. 17, with all campuses now on holiday break for Christmas and New Year's. Classes resume Monday, Jan. 3.

Before heading out, there were exams to take, projects to finish and parties to attend. Many sites also had special holiday programs for families, including the two outermost sites of Collegeville and Farmington.

A 'Collegeville Country Christmas' was on tap Thursday morning and those that made their way to the school through the fog enjoyed a special program of musical selections performed by the different grade levels. The second and third grade classes were costumed in holiday dress from around the world, while the kindergarten students performed a Christmas play in which the letters of 'Merry Christmas' were originally intentionally scrambled, then re-arranged to spell out the holiday greeting for the crowd.

On Thursday afternoon, Farmington Elementary School hosted its Christmas program and sing-a-long, giving the audience a chance to sing many of the Christmas carols with the students at the end of the performance.

The program itself included a performance by the Farmington fifth grade band, the After School program students performing, and additional songs sung by the kindergarten through fifth grade students. The sing-a-long then wrapped up the afternoon of entertainment.

The holidays continued in Farmington on Friday evening, when that community gathered for the annual Christmas program at the firehouse. Homemade cookies, hot cider, juice and coffee were offered, along with holiday music and the arrival of a special guest - Santa Claus - via fire truck. Despite some raindrops, the crowd at the firehouse was fired up for the annual visit by the man in red, and he greeted dozens of youngsters, who had the chance to share their holiday wishes with him, then pose for a photograph. Each child also received a small gift and a candy cane, as well as being able to take the photo home with them.

Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey said the annual evening is a fun one for the community and, if there are any gifts left over, they are donated to the 'Toys for Tots' effort in neighboring Escalon.

That toy distribution to area families was done at the firehouse in Escalon on Tuesday, Dec. 21.

Locally, many churches will have special services for Christmas Eve and some also on Christmas Day.

Escalon city offices will be closed Friday, Dec. 24 and Monday, Dec. 27, reopening on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The offices will also be closed on Friday, Dec. 31 for the New Year's observance and will reopen for regular business hours on Monday, Jan. 3.