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Billy Smoothboars made Christmas a little brighter this year for dozens of children in Bandon.

The restaurant’s 10th annual Christmas for the Less Fortunate drew nearly 100 children with their parents on Dec. 16 for a version of the event modified this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Despite the pandemic, children eagerly awaited their visit with Santa, enjoyed hot chocolate and pre-packaged treats, and delighted in stockings filled with toys and wrapped gifts presented by Santa.

Billy Smoothboars' owners Dan and Lynn Barnett and their daughter Brandi and son-in-law Bryan Church, along with staff members and friends all helped put the event together, which featured a veritable winter wonderland of decorations both inside and out.

Every year the Barnetts put hours of their own time and money into the event, but are also helped by donations from the community, of which they are grateful.

"I am speaking for everyone at Billy Smoothboars restaurant in Bandon that helped and contributed to last nights 'Christmas for the Less Fortunate' event, when I say thank you!" Dan Barnett said on social media following the event.

"In these trying times and with COVID restrictions in our faces, we still persevered and had a wonderful event," Barnett wrote. "We had almost 100 children through our Christmas wonderland and although modified from past years, fun was had by all. With a movie theater, gingerbread house (room), Santa stockings, handmade woven hats, Santa himself and gifts for all, it was a magical evening. Thank you all again for helping to make this a Bandon tradition and thank you to the many that donated!”

Sharron Schmidt was there with her friend Pat Sherwood. Schmidt, who said she knits while watching television, gave away almost 90 colorful pom-pom-topped hats to children, something she has done for several years at the event.

Though many children enjoyed the festivities, attendance was down from previous years. The Barnetts found themselves with over three dozen wrapped gifts left over, along with stockings and a large box full of stuffed animals, which were all donated to the Bandon Police Department for its Holidays with a Hero event, which was set for Dec. 23.

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