Race to the Holidays Christmas Party Hosts 250 Sonoma Valley Children

SONOMA, Calif. (Dec. 13, 2008) -- Infineon Raceway helped spread some holiday cheer on Saturday to more than 500 people at the 4th annual Race to the Holidays Christmas Party.

The raceway hosted 260 Sonoma Valley children and their families at the event, which featured caroling, refreshments, race cars and a visit from Santa Claus and two of his elves.

The event, which has attracted more than 900 children since its inception in 2005, culminated with Santa presenting each child with a bag full of toys. Children ranged in ages from newborns to 18-year-olds.

"The teen parents in our program ask about the party every year," said Tracy Dorrance, coordinator of the Cal-SAFE Teen Parent Program in Sonoma. "It almost means more to the mothers than the babies because they can enjoy the gifts, but they also know it's important for their children to see Santa."

The festive event was held under sunny skies and all of the children who attended left the raceway with new toys and wide smiles. Following the toy distribution, everyone was treated to a free lunch at the Infineon Raceway Cafe, which also featured face-painters and people crafting balloon animals.

"This party is really great because I know during this time of year, some people don't have a lot of money, so it's nice to come here with my brother and sister to see Santa and get some toys," said Maricela Jauregui, 12, who signed up with the Boys and Girls Club.

"My favorite part was getting my picture taken with Santa," added Estevan, 8, Jauregi's younger brother. "I told him what I want for next year, so that was fun too."

All children who attended the party were pre-registered through one of the following Sonoma Valley youth groups: Hannah Boys Center; La Luz; Teen Parent Program; Valley of the Moon Boys and Girls Club; Valley of the Moon Teen Center; Stand By Me Mentoring; Valley of the Moon Teen Center; and Willmar Center for Bereaved Children. Every child who attended also received a free toothbrush, courtesy of DeVincenzi & Sorstadt in Sonoma.

The raceway received a generous outpouring of support from the community as nearly 600 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; Sonoma Valley Fire Department; and The Swiss Hotel.

-credit: ir