COOS BAY — Santa Claus made it just in time for the annual Empire tree lighting at Star of Hope on Saturday, hitching a ride on one Coos Bay Fire Department’s fire engines.

After the tree was lit the caroling crowd moved their warm huddle into Star of Hope. A band played holiday classics while families formed a line to see Santa, others enjoyed cookies and warm cider.

 “I want all of the Batman stuff,” 3-year-old Chase Woodward said, as he waited to see Santa.

Six-year-old Zoey Wisby said that she was going to ask Santa for a princessmobile.

Brycen Hatchard, a 7-year-old hopes Santa will get him an electric scooter this year.

 “It takes a lot of planning. There’s a lot of different groups involved in putting this together. Star of Hope has put a lot of work into decorating,” Graham Keller of the Community Coalition of Empire, said.

Santa’s visit and the tree lighting are organized by the Community Coalition of Empire, and have been going on for about eight years now.

“It’s awesome to have the community come out and support Empire. I think it’s really important to all of these folks to have the people in our neighborhood to come out and be together,” executive director at Star of Hope LouAnn Dewater said.

After the kids met with Santa they were given a small toy. The toys were donated by the Army National Guard.

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