They came, one and all, young and old, naughty and nice, hungry and hopeful for a hearty breakfast and a chance to meet the man from the North. Yes, it was Breakfast With Santa, once again bringing a morning of fun, excitement and fellowship to all.
The event, which took place Dec. 6, is hosted annually by All Angels Academy. A tradition for over 20 years now, the festival is held every first Saturday of December, a de facto kickoff to the Christmas season for many in the River Cities area.
“It’s a way to bring the small Miami Springs community together during the joyful holiday season,” said Committee Chairperson Barbara Cancela, who has been involved with the event since 2008. “Every year it gets better and better.”
The more than 500 attendees may very well agree. There were plenty of events to keep everyone entertained and well fed. For a mere $7 in advance or $9 at the door, guests got a flurry of activities from 8 to 11:30 a.m.
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“We tailor our events to appeal to kids from preschool through eighth grade and their families,” said Cancela. “We have face painting, carnival rides, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy, raffles, vendors, a book fair, and the man himself, Santa, during breakfast.”
Guests began streaming in right at 8 a.m. for their breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, donuts, fruit, and breads. It wasn’t long before the jolly man in red made his grand entrance, along with Mrs. Claus, to the delight of all — especially the littlest ones.
Santa handed out candy canes to the children, faces brightening with the magic of the moment. Then Mr. and Mrs. Claus took their seat and posed for photos, with Santa listening to youngsters’ (and some not-so-youngsters’) Christmas wishes.
After breakfast, families headed out to the other activities. For an extra $2, they could purchase a wristband for the carnival rides. Between that and perhaps getting a butterfly or cute design painted on one’s face, cooling off on a warm December day with a snow cone, or doing some Christmas shopping at the book fair or with other vendors, the overall feel was that of enjoyment and fellowship.
“I love our tradition of hosting Breakfast With Santa,” said All Angels Academy Associate Head of School Terry Alexander. “To see all the kids’ faces when they see Santa and when they take their picture with him, it makes all the hard work worth every minute.”
Parent and community member Nancy Castillo agreed: “It’s a great way to celebrate the holidays. It’s family-friendly, fun, and relaxed.”
In attendance was Hialeah-Miami Springs Rotary Club President Ben Badger, who coincidentally also has a white beard like someone else who was there. “It’s all about the kids and making them happy. When you see a child’s smile, it’s awesome.”
The event not only serves as a community gathering point, but also as a fundraiser for the school.
“We would like to thank our wonderful parents who volunteered and donated items,” said Cancela. “Additionally, we would like to thank our sponsors: Sysco, Dunkin Donuts, McArthur Milk, Fiesta Party Rental, Vicky Bakery, Woodys, Gil’s Café, L.A. Chevron, Power Party Events and Mark Safreed, who provided the biscuits. Without all of them, this event would not be the success it is. It was spectacular, the best we’ve ever had.”