When asked if he has been a good little boy this year, Cory Kautz Jr. nodded his head up and down.
Then, the 5-year-old Hermiston boy looked at his parents for confirmation. When Cory Kautz Sr. and Britni Kautz agreed that their son had indeed been good, a melon-sized grin broke out on his face.
The Kautz family, which also includes 9-month-old Tyson, enjoyed their Saturday morning together during Pancakes with Santa at the Hermiston Conference Center. The Kautzes got their fill of flapjacks and sausage, browsed at several vendor booths and played holiday bingo, which featured green and red M&Ms as card markers.
However, there was an even more pressing reason why the family wanted to attend the event.
“He’s so excited to see Santa,” Britni said about her oldest son.
When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Cory said, “Presents.” And, after pausing, he added, “Big ones.”
However, Cory’s little brother wasn’t as thrilled about seeing the jolly old elf. After eyeballing St. Nick — aka John Perkins — Tyson started to cry. After event photographer Pat Hart snapped a few pictures, Britni rescued Tyson from Santa’s lap. Cory lingered a little longer and then Santa offered him a candy cane.
Valerie Horton of Hermiston attended the event with her granddaughter, Alivia Estrada, and the 5-year-old’s parents, Jessica Horton and Marc Estrada. Valerie said they wanted to do something as a family and to see Santa.
Alivia let St. Nick know that the top of her Christmas wish list is an L.O.L Surprise! As Jessica described the popular toy, Alivia added specific details about the type she’s hoping for.
Larry Fetter, Hermiston Parks & Recreation director, said partnerships with the Hermiston Kiwanis Club and local Key Club members were an integral part in making the third annual Pancakes with Santa a success. Also, he said personnel from the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility in Boardman assisted with serving. Fetter said the event drew about 130 people, which was held for a second year at the conference center after outgrowing The Arc building.
“It’s starting to turn into a local holiday tradition,” Fetter said. “It’s such a fun event and people look forward to it.”
Entertainment was provided by the band and choir students from Hermiston High School. After performing their set, Majazzty choir members headed back for a group photo with Santa Claus. Choir director Jordan Bemrose-Rust said Pancakes with Santa marked the ensemble’s 10th special holiday performance.
The community is invited to their final public performances of the season Monday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the HHS auditorium, 600 S. First St. There is no admission charge for the Winter Concert, which features band and choir programs.
Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-564-4539