HARKER HEIGHTS — The weather outside may have been frightful, but the holiday spirit was delightful as more than 500 people filled the Harker Heights Activities Center to have breakfast with Santa Claus on Saturday morning.

Droves of children from across the area streamed in for a visit and a photograph with Santa, then breakfast at tables decorated with paper gingerbread houses and festive tablecloths.

The event was sponsored by the Junior Service League of Killeen and included dozens of club members serving the meal and helping Santa.

Harker Heights residents Tim and Karey Pierce attended the annual event with their two children, Emma, 7, and Wills, 4, for the past five years. They said they look forward to it every year.

“Seeing Santa was my favorite part,” said Emma, who asked Santa for a phone covered in “purple sparkly horses.”

Wills used his one-on-one time with Santa to see if he had finally made the “nice list” this year.

“I haven’t been very nice to my sister lately, but I have been helping Daddy with the dishes and the laundry to get me back on the nice list,” Wills said, as he gobbled up his syrup-soaked tower of pancakes.

While families were treated to live holiday tunes by several local children’s choirs, others stood in a line that stretched to the front doors of the library to meet the jolly man himself.

Armie Melton, 5, could hardly contain her excitement to sit on Santa’s lap.

The No. 1 item on her Christmas list is for Texas to get some snow this year.

“We get a great picture every year, the breakfast is great, and it’s for a great cause,” said mom and Killeen resident Gina Melton, holding her 2-year-old son, Reagan, on her hip. “Coming here is so much better than standing in line at the mall. It’s much less rushed.”

Inside the activities center, JSL members were quick to set up extra tables and chairs to accommodate the crowd looking for a place to enjoy breakfast.

“The community really enjoys this, and it’s our biggest fundraiser that we do,” said Angie Donovan, president of JSL. “All the proceeds we get from the ticket sales and the raffle go to the Option House in Killeen, the Fort Hood Fisher House and Families in Crisis.”

Contact Vanessa Lynch at vlynch@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7567.

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