Hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley families rang in the holidays with live music, gifts and toys at the Newhall Community Center on Friday.
The second annual Jingle Bell Jamboree, organized by the city of Santa Clarita, offered the community a free evening of arts and crafts, holiday-themed refreshments and Christmas dance performances by Ballet Folklorico.
“Today is a culmination of the holiday festivities at the center because we do three signature events: Halloween in October, Thanksgiving in November and tonight,” said Cynthia Muir, community services supervisor at the Newhall Community Center. “Tonight is all about bringing families together to enjoy food, music and arts and crafts.”
Children by the dozens lined up to decorate holiday ornaments and take a photo with Santa Claus but for 9-year-old twins Eduardo and Leonardo Gallegos, the chance to get a bicycle from a raffle was the most exciting part.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Eduardo. “I got a raffle ticket for the bike so hopefully we get one.”
More than 60 bicycles, scooters and skateboards were donated with help from the community and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, said Maricela Ramirez, a law enforcement technician with the station.
“We’re just trying to put a smile on kids’ faces. We know that this is not a community that is affluent and we hope that this will bring smiles to a handful of kids,” said Ramirez.
For Marina Diu, a mother of two and first-year resident of Santa Clarita, the event was a great opportunity for her to meet her community, she said.
“I wasn’t expecting this many people. We moved to the city because it’s safe and I like it here very much,” said Diu. “I’m glad that I had a chance to take a photo with my kids and meet other people.”