Santa spreads cheer to families, collects food for charity

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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For 49 years, Santa and his elves have joined with the El Dorado Hills Fire Department to visit the neighborhoods in town and spread holiday cheer.

Each year Santa rides atop a fire engine as he tours El Dorado Hills on several consecutive nights. This year the run ended on Sunday Dec. 16 with Santa and Mrs. Claus delighting the crowds at Town Center.

Mallory Higgins said she looks forward to the Santa Run each year.

“It gets me in the holiday mood,” she said. “This year has been tough, but hearing the sirens coming down the street means that Santa is coming by. It really gets me in the holiday spirit.”

John Gray said his children are always hopeful the Santa run will go past their El Dorado Hills home.

“Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It’s not really that big of a deal,” Gray said. “We always manage to find them on one of the days and come out and see Santa.”

During the five days of the parade/run, “elves” collected canned goods and donations for Toys for Tots.

The final tally of donations was not available as of press time.

In Cameron Park, the Santa Parade is now in its 13th year.

Throughout its three-day run, Santa visited several neighborhoods tossing sweet treats to eager children.

Milo Garza, 8, waited along the route with a few of his friends, for the parade of fire trucks to make it up the street hear Royal Park Drive Sunday.

“I hear the sirens, so they must be close,” he said with excitement.

Aside from waiting for the fire engines to make their way and the thoughts of running into the street to grab whatever goodies are tossed, Garza was thinking ahead to Christmas.

“I can’t wait for Christmas morning,” he said. “I’ve been good, kind of, and I want a bike.”