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Not only will Santa Claus be there for photos and breakfast, but Naval Air Facility Atsugi residents also can hang out with farm animals, clowns and Sesame Street characters Saturday at the base’s Breakfast With Santa event.

All hands and all ages are welcome to the base’s biggest bash of the season. Breakfast With Santa replaces the Winter Wonderland event held in the past. But unlike Winter Wonderland, the breakfast is indoors — and therefore much cozier — and includes a 200-animal petting zoo.

“This is our big community event for the winter,” said Ron Murashige, committee activities manager for Atsugi’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department. “We’ve had Winter Wonderland for the past four years. We just thought we’d do something different this year.”

The Dobutsu Mura Petting Zoo — an off-base menagerie on wheels that has participated in summertime base events — will bring its huge collection of animals and free pony rides.

The breakfast will be held inside Club Trilogy and the petting zoo will be in the parking lot outside.

Having the event indoors probably will attract more people, Murashige said. In the past, some residents came out during prize drawings but disappeared indoors to escape the cold for most of the day, he said.

The breakfast and all the activities are free. The event will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

“This year we’ll have continuous entertainment on stage,” Murashige said.

Some of the highlights include a visit from the Mokomoko Clowns, a Japanese group that will show off tricks, juggling and balloon animals.

One of the most popular events is a Sesame Street show with Elmo, Bert, Ernie and the Count, visiting from the Sesame Street exhibit at Tokyo Summerland, a local amusement park.

“The children really liked the show” in the past, Murashige said. “They draw most of the crowds.”

Most of the Sesame Street show is in Japanese but Murashige said the base requested Christmas songs in English as well.

Another highlight is a visit from the big guy himself — Santa Claus will arrive in an Atsugi fire department truck, then be available for photos and present requests from youngsters.

Each child receives a free stocking and photo after meeting Santa.

The breakfast also includes giveaways — including three 8-foot stockings filled with toys, Murashige said.

The breakfast will feature scrambled eggs, toast, ham, bacon and the usual fixings.

Murashige expects about 350 to 500 people to attend, he said.

“It’s basically geared toward the younger crowd but we encourage the older people to come by, eat breakfast, and see Santa,” he said.

Breakfast With Santa runs from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Naval Air Facility Atsugi’s Club Trilogy. It is open to all ID card holders and their guests, all ages and ranks. The event is free.


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