Children's happy faces were abundant at the Combat Center's Desert Winds Golf Course, Dec. 5, during the sixth annual Marine Corps Community Services Winter Festival.
More than 3,000 Combat Center family members attended the event, backing up traffic all the way down to Del Valle Road. The number of attendees is significantly higher than the past few years, said Kelley Coe, the special events program manager for the Marine Corps Community Services here.
This event really helps junior enlisted service members with families give their children the type of Christmas they deserve, said Lance Cpl. Andrew Holbert, an amphibious assault vehicle crewman with Company D, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
To accommodate the large number of attendees, MCCS provided several shuttles to ferry patrons back and forth from the event.
The main attraction at the event was Santa Claus, who was available to hear the children's Christmas wishes and give out free gifts.
Jiffy the clown was present to entertain families by making balloon animals for the children.
Face painting, and arts and crafts booths, complete with crayons, colored pencils, markers, coloring books, crowns and paper swords, were set up to entertain the children throughout the day.
The Combat Center Band performed to set the holiday mood for the event's patrons.
The California BBQ Association provided refreshments for the festival including, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, chips, hot chocolate, cider and coffee.
JSerra High School, a private Christian school in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., attended to help MCCS, something they have done each year since the first event.
"All the toys were donated from the JSerra High School students," Coe said. The students also helped out by organizing the toys by age and gender and passing them out to the children.
"The school has done this so many times the students ask the teachers if they will be donating toys again this year," she said.
Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the Gingerbread Man roamed the golf course to entertain the children.
Coe said because of the success of this year's event, MCCS plans to hold the event again next year.
This work, MCCS gives to Combat Center families, by Cpl Andrew Thorburn, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.