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Hotcakes and holiday wishes

Santa returns to North Liberty for his annual breakfast with children
Santa Claus picks up Charlotte, age 2, as her sisters Addie, age 7 (at left), and Brinley, age 5, watch Saturday, Dec. 8, during the annual Breakfast with Santa event at the North Liberty Recreation Center. Between 250 and 300 kids spent a little time with Santa during the three-hour event featuring a hot breakfast cooked up by the North Liberty Lions Club, kids crafts, a craft show/sale and an operating Lionel train layout. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY— A Christmas tradition continued in North Liberty as Santa Claus appeared at the Recreation Center on Saturday, Dec. 8, for the annual Breakfast with Santa event. Between 250 and 300 kids spent a ltime with the Jolly Old Elf discussing their hopes and dreams for Christmas presents, as well as their behavior over the past year.
The event has grown over the years, since starting in 2006, said Recreation Supervisor Matt Meseck.
“Back in 2006 and up until I took over the event in 2011, it was kept pretty low key. Simple breakfast items like juice and donut holes were provided. I’m pretty fond of Christmas, so I decided to take it over beginning in 2011 and that’s when we went to a full hot breakfast, crafts, professional photographs provided free of charge by Sandi Spurrell Photography, a model Christmas Village and train,” he said.
The North Liberty Lions Club provided breakfast while Good Shepard Church, of Cedar Rapids, had a kids crafts activity. In addition church member Terry Martinson, also of Cedar Rapids, brought an operating Lionel train layout featuring vintage model trains.
“I added the holiday craft show to run alongside the breakfast as it was a built in crowd that I wouldn’t have to seek out via advertising and gave people in the community a chance to show off their skills,” Meseck said. “Santa is with us from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. each year, give or take 20 minutes,” he said, “Usually take as Santa gives each kid all the time he can.”