PPD’S Santa in the Park is Tuesday
Santa Claus and his elves and reindeer will make a stop in Centennial Park on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. during Porterville Police Department's Santa in the Park event to ensure every kid in the city gets a gift and a chance to take a picture with him.
In addition to Santa, the free event, which runs until 7:30 p.m., will also feature Cantrell's mule and horse rides, candy canes, free bike raffles and gift bags sponsored by the Porterville City Library. Councilmember Monte Reyes will serve as the event's emcee.
Thanks to Walmart Distribution Center donation, Augie Gonzalez, the chairman of the event, said he's got around 35 bikes to give away this year.
Gonzalez said every kid will get a raffle ticket for free and will have a chance to win a bike.
Gonzalez said a number of agencies also partnered with the police department to put on this year's event, including the City of Porterville and the Porterville Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors of the event include the Walmart Distribution Center, Tulare County District Attorney's Office, A New Leash on Life Dog Rescue, Walmart, Petsmart and California CASA.
Gonzalez said the event will also feature approximately 500 donated stuffed animals for kids.
That, however, may not be enough as Gonzalez predicts there will be around 500 kids attending this year's event.
“The event has grown tremendously,” Gonzalez said, adding that he is expecting another large turnout of adults as well as children. “Last year I estimated that we had about 500 kids and maybe a total of 2,000 people.”
Gonzalez said the police department has put on the annual event for nearly the last two decades, and added that it has provided less fortunate families in the community with an opportunity to have a Christmas.
“It is to get people in the holiday spirit that may not have the opportunity otherwise to get into that spirit and be in a Christmas environment,” Gonzalez said.
He added his favorite part about the event is seeing the smile on kids' faces and seeing their parents overcome with joy and relief.
“Last year there were some very emotional and appreciative families that expressed their gratitude that if it wasn't for this that they probably wouldn't have had a Christmas,” Gonzalez said. “That was very pleasurable for us to see.”