More than 500 people enjoyed a day of holiday cheer at Infineon Raceway on Saturday Dec. 11, 2010 at the 6th annual Race to the Holidays Christmas Party.
The raceway hosted 287 Sonoma Valley children and their families at the event, which featured caroling with the Sonoma Valley High School choir, refreshments, a race car display, balloon animals and a visit from Santa Claus and his Pit Crew.
The event, which has attracted more than 1,400 children since its inception in 2005, culminated with Santa Claus presenting each child with a bag full of toys. Children ranged in age from newborn to 12-years-old.
"This is the second year I’ve come to this," said Taylor Arnold, 10, from Sonoma. "It’s a real fun party and it’s fun to get presents. I really liked Santa, he was pretty cool and hip. My favorite present I got was the game Yahtzee."
"My favorite part was when Santa Claus gave me my present. He gave me a big truck and I like it a lot," said Alexis Rios, 5, from Sonoma.
The festive event was held under sunny skies and all of the children left the raceway with new toys and wide smiles. Following the toy distribution, everyone was treated to a free lunch at the Infineon Raceway Café.
""The Race to the Holidays Christmas Party brings great joy and holiday cheer to our mentees," said Tina Baldry, Program Director Stand By Me Mentoring Program.
"Each year, the children from Stand By Me are beaming with happiness as they sing songs, meet Santa and receive a special gift. For many of our families this is the only Holiday Party they attend. What a treat it is for them to visit Infineon Raceway."
All children who attended the party were pre-registered through six Sonoma Valley youth groups, including: FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping); La Luz; Teen Parent Program; Valley of the Moon Boys and Girls Club; Stand By Me Mentoring; and WillMar Center for Bereaved Children.
The raceway received a generous outpouring of support from the community as nearly 700 toys were donated for the party.
Some of the drop-off locations included: Sonoma Valley Index Tribune; Sonoma Valley Sun; Gundlach-Bundschu Winery; Schell-Vista Fire Department; Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce; and the Sonoma Valley Fire Department. Good Riddance Hauling also donated their time to pick up all donated toys.