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Smiles, Holiday Joy Come To Farmington
There was the occasional screaming child, not sure what to make of the man with the big white beard and the bright red suit. But more often than not, youngsters jumped at the chance to sit on Santa's lap and bend his ear - even briefly - Friday night at the annual Farmington Community Christmas hosted at the firehouse.

With refreshments, holiday music and a candy cane and gift for all children, the youngsters waited patiently until they heard the fire siren, which traditionally signals the arrival of Santa Claus on a fire truck.

"This is my third time here," said an excited Wyatt McCune, 6, who was first in line to visit with Santa. "I'm asking for a fire truck and a Lego police command center."

Two previous trips to the firehouse were for the Christmas program, he said, while one was for a school field trip.

When the siren blew, McCune was among the crowd that rushed outside to greet Santa ... consequently, he lost his spot at the front of the line but settled in, content to wait his turn to deliver his wish list.

The first to visit was Nathan Kelley, 4, who received, appropriately enough, a toy fire truck as his gift.

Constance Belger, 2½, was more interested in the candy cane than her gift but both she and younger sister Candyce, 1, posed for a photo with Santa and were joined by parents Vernon and Kara Belger for a family photo keepsake.

"I've never been here but Santa Claus is my client," Kara Belger confided. "I'm a massage therapist at Dr. Bystrom's (Escalon Chiropractic) and give Santa his massage."

It's likely he'll be stopping by for a visit next week, after his annual trip is complete.

"I think it's very nice, a good family-oriented event," she added of the Farmington festivities.

Fie Chief Conni Bailey said they planned for 150 children, with a toy for each one. With assorted parents, grandparents and friends also attending, they made enough cookies to feed the masses as well.

The chief stopped counting at "20 dozen frosted Christmas cookies" but also made several other varieties, along with a handful of other bakers. Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, Rice Krispy treats, peanut butter cookies and more were featured, along with hot cider, hot chocolate and punch.

The event is sponsored by the community, with the Odd Fellows providing all the film for the Polaroid keepsake photos, the fire board providing the cooking supplies for the bakers, Farmington Fire Department volunteers paying for the gifts for the giveaway and Toni Ladiges at the general store providing the drinks.

Dusti Weston brought her 3-month-old dog Bailee, a Yorkshire, to pose for a photo with Santa and the youngest visitor, decked out in a reindeer outfit, was Kadin Bailey-Donis, 2½ months, who paid more attention to the colorful holiday lights than anything else.

Serving as the elves this year, helping Santa with the gifts and candy canes, were Luis Estrada, Clayton Keener, Kim Tompson, Stephen Mendez and Renee Alls.

Bailey said it's always a nice turnout and gets the community in the spirit of the holiday.

Elizabeth Rommel was there with her children Audrey, 3, and Faith, 17 months.

"I think it's so neat," she said as her daughters tore into the brightly wrapped packages they received from Santa. "They got so excited when he came in on the fire truck."