Coldwell Banker's office on the corner of Carson Street and Winnie Lane was packed Saturday as children, moms and dads gathered for Santa Day, a special open house to benefit the Toys for Tots program in Carson City.
Santa, who stopped by visit to with the kids, was flanked by Marine Lance Cpl. Lanager. KPTL Radio Station was broadcasting from the parking lot and Carson City Fire Department's Warren Engine Company No. 1 parked their paramedic engine unit outside for a time. They had to answer a call and left shortly after they arrived.
Aspiring young artists aged two to 12 from local schools and day care centers all over Carson City were invited to compete in a coloring contest and their efforts covered the walls. The winners were announced at 11 a.m.
Joyce Walker, spokesperson for Coldwell Banker, said parents are invited to make donations to "Toys for Tots."
"One of the best things about this event is seeing the excitement on the kids faces. They love seeing Santa and they love the fire truck," she said. "And hopefully, they'll see what Christmas is all about."
Coldwell Banker collected about 1,500 toys last year but the figures are down a little this year, according to Walker.
Capt. Amanda Mitchell of the Salvation Army agreed with Walker on that point, but she's hoping donations will pick up in the coming weeks.
She said locally about 5,000 toys are distributed to 1,000 children at the National Guard Armory just before Christmas, but this year a new distribution point had to be secured because the Guard is on alert following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent actions in Afghanistan.
The U.S. Marines and Salvation Army both help distribute the toys and on Dec. 22, the Nevada Appeal will host the toy distribution at their new building on Mallory Way.