Santa arrives early at the first Anza Lions Club Cowboy Christmas

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A display of goodies and other treats line the table at the Saturday, Dec. 14, Anza Lions Club Cowboy Christmas celebration and the Lions Arena on Kirby Road in Anza. Anza Valley Outlook/Tony Ault photo

Santa couldn’t come down from the sky and surprise the children awaiting his arrival during the Anza Lions Club Cowboy Christmas Saturday, Dec. 14, instead he hitched a ride to Lions Arena with Cal Fire from Anza Station 29 and rode in on their red fire engine with the lights flashing and sirens wailing.

Despite the weather, the Anza Lions Club and guests found a barbecue to warm up near and enjoyed plates of short ribs, cowboy beans and baked potatoes, followed by a cowboy parade just as dusk fell with horses, wagons and old trucks lit up with Christmas lights. Almost 40 children from ages 1-15 each received a gift from good ole’ St. Nick personally.

After visiting with Santa, the children ran over to the bouncy house brought in just for the occasion.

The event ended a little earlier than organizers expected as a cold misty fog rolled into the valley a little after 6 p.m.

Mimi Michele Brown, club president and event organizer, said there were many local donors for the children’s gifts as well as the food for the special event.

“There were so many organizations donating. This was the first event. We decided to try it, and we just talked to the different organizations to get involved to try to make it into an annual event. Kind of a winter, fun place,” Brown said.

The Anza Lions Club was established in 1976 and contributes to the residents of Anza by hosting many family events including Cowboy Christmas, gymkhanas, Hillbilly Days and a big part of Anza Days and the Fourth of July parade.

Visit www.anzalionsclub.org to see the club’s upcoming events and opportunities for membership or call (780) 637-9173.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.