PORT CHARLOTTE — Santa beat out chocolate chip pancakes if long lines are a measure Monday at Charlotte County Fire Station 12.
It looked like hundreds of children, their parents and grandparents were lined up to see Santa at the longstanding Santa Firehouse Breakfast sponsored by Fawcett Memorial Hospital.
It was the second of a two-day tour for Santa and his crew. On Friday, they put on a similar party in the Englewood area, filling up Station 4 in South Gulf Cove with the smells of pancakes and sausage, complete with Santa bearing gifts. The Englewood event was sponsored by Englewood Community Hospital.
The best part of Breakfast with Santa?
“I get to see all the firefighters,” said Presley Shaffer, 8, of Deep Creek.
“We’ve actually been coming for years,” said Presley’s mom, Billy Shaffer.
For many children, this is the first day of Christmas vacation.
“All the kids are really excited,” said Michael Peets, assistant administrator for Fawcett.
Behind the Santa beard, Charlotte County Fire Marshal Scott Morris listened to the various requests from children. Hannah Jones, 7, asked for a unicorn. Her brother, Benjamin, asked for a sweater and Nolan, 6, for Spider-Man stuff.
They all got a stuffed animal, donated by PetSmart.
Fawcett donated the food and CEO Bill Hawley donned an apron.
“Fawcett does amazing work for the community,” said parent Ashley Maher. “We are very grateful for them.”
Charlotte County Commissioners Joe Tiseo and Bill Truex manned the food station, serving the chocolate chip pancakes and sausage. Two deputy chiefs, Mike Davis and Jason Fair, used ketchup squeeze bottles to make the pancakes. Leftover sausage from the second breakfast went to the Homeless Coalition, retired Fire Chief Maryann Taylor said.