A winter’s hayride bundled up in blankets helped make the event a memorable one for the excited youngsters and their families. Tom Best photos

Jolly old elf brings joy to Smithers

Photos from Sunday’s Annual Santa’s Pancake Breakfast in Smithers.

There always seem to be plenty of holiday traditions to go around at this time of year and we all have our favorites.

Certain events seem to kick off the season and for many here in the Bulkley Valley, the Annual Santa’s Pancake Breakfast at the Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge seems to be a great way to get out and enjoy some family time, especially for those with younger kids.

This year’s version was no exception as close to 800 stood patiently in line last Sunday morning for a hearty breakfast and then maybe a chance to meet that jolly old elf himself, Saint Nick aka Santa Claus.

While the reindeer and their sled were not present (some were saying they were at a secret training camp in preparation for that oh-so-special eve) there was a hayride with a strong two-horsepower driving unit.

Local musical groups were also in attendance to remind us of our favorite holiday airs that keep the season light. Other organizations were there to help keep the lines moving and the dirty dishes from piling up.

Tim Sharp of the Salvation Army described some of the different plans that his group had to help those in need around the area. Perhaps his favorite plan is the backpack campaign that he hopes will help some of the families with school-age youngsters get through weekends and holidays with a little less stress by having a little more food for those times.

Sharp seemed like Santa himself as he talked about how he hoped to set up and run programs that will help those who need assistance most. There was never a hint of not being able to succeed in what he was trying. Like the old elf himself, Sharp just wanted to help and he was sure he could succeed.

One example:

“I was driving one day and I realized that when Sears closes down, it would be the perfect place to expand our operations for storing things and preparing food packages. It has all of the right facilities for the kind of operation we want to expand into,” he said.

If an event like the Santa’s Breakfast can in any way help people like Sharp accomplish their goals of helping others lead, these traditional events will continue to be a way to show ourselves and others that our lives here in the Bulkley Valley are caring and giving in the most unselfish of ways.

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Members of the local constabulary were on hand to help direct those in attendance to the overflowing breakfast.

Musical entertainment was provided by well known local groups which presented many of our favorite tunes past and present.

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