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Gabriella Scitzs, 8-month-old daughter of Anjelu and Richard Scitzs, laughs as Santa plays peek-a-boo with her before their picture is taken during the installation’s annual Winter Festival at Felix Field Dec. 3, 2011.

Photo by Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

Annual Winter Festival heralds holiday cheer

9 Dec 2011 | Cpl. Andrew D. Thorburn

The festival Saturday, sponsored by Marine Corps Community Services, has been helping spread cheer to the Combat Center community for almost a decade.

“The Winter Festival began in 2002 as an MCCS initiative to provide the families aboard MCAGCC a quality-of-life holiday event,” said Kelley M. Coe, Special Events program manager, MCCS.

Families enjoyed multiple attractions including photos with Santa, hayrides and pony rides. One area that gained the most interest was a large tent where thousands of presents were handed out to children.

MCCS passed out thousands of toys with the help of JSerra Catholic High School students from San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

“The students not only provide the toys that are sponsored, they also volunteer to come to the Winter Festival to help give out the toys to the children,” Coe said. “This has become a holiday tradition at JSerra High School.”

Also manning the toy tent were volunteer students from the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School who enjoyed spreading some holiday cheer.

“It feels good when you see a happy (child),” said Pfc. Davis Williams, student, MCCES.

For quite a few of the children, the pony rides are what made their day.

“My son loved the ponies, it was his first time riding one and we went three times,” said Kyle Tuttle, wife of Cpl. John Tuttle, Amphibias Assault Vehicle mechanic, Delta Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.

As the participants took part in the different booths or waited in line, they were entertained by seasonal songs sung live by the Sun City Shadow Hills Community Singers from Indio, Calif.

“It’s what we can do to just brighten days and just show how much we care about you guys,” said Karen Adamik, the group’s director. “They are clapping, and we like that we are here facing the crowds waiting to come in cause we give them something to do while waiting to see Santa.”

For more information on upcoming MCCS events, visit their website at or checkout the Hot Topics column on page A2.

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