About 60 adults and more than 50 children were on hand to greet the jolly old elf and Mrs. Claus too, as they walked up the ramp to the Yacht Club deck. Santa's yearly visit has been an event enjoyed by members and their children for at least a couple of decades.
The children yelled their greetings and with a "Ho, Ho, Ho," Santa came inside to take his place on stage, where he lifted a long queue of children to his lap, one by one, while asking the timeworn question, "What would you like for Christmas?"
Kids weren't hesitant about answering that question, and it's a sure bet that Santa will do his best to honor all those requests on Christmas Day - assuming, of course, that the children have been good all year.
Emma Donley easily answered Santa's question. "He asked me what I wanted," she said, "and I told him," referring to some Barbie stuff she'd like to find under her Christmas tree. Her sister Shannon asked for a Nintendo game and their mom, Debbie, was all smiles. "We've been coming here to meet Santa for eight years now and we really enjoy it," she said.
Santa's helpers were his wife and Discovery Bay resident Nicole Gerry, current Miss Northern California Junior Teen. Every child was given a toy bear and candy cane.
Magician Albert Joseph also treated attendees to his entrancing art just before Santa arrived. A natural comedian, the sleight-of-hand artist had the audience in stitches as he performed a 45-minute routine using all kinds of props, tricks and audience participation designed to delight youngsters and parents alike.
Elaine and Ted Stark enlisted help from Chet and Linda Loveland, Dick and Bernie Realph and Will Schwenning for the warm Santa welcome. "It was great fun and we're planning on doing it again next year," Elaine said.
Speculation about the fact that Santa and Mrs. Claus looked a great deal like Bob and Roni Perata was bounced around. But, of course, looks can be deceiving and we're sure Santa Claus and the missis were the real deal.