James Davison remembers White Rock firefighters got more than they bargained for when they hosted their first-ever Breakfast with Santa event more than two decades ago.
Expecting to serve pancakes and sausages fresh off the firehall grill to 100 or so people, they were taken off-guard – to put it lightly – by a massive turnout that, by the end of the morning, numbered closer to 600.
“We weren’t really prepared for what we were getting into,” Davison said Friday, chuckling at the memory of the crew members having to scramble to purchase more of everything on the menu in order to accommodate the seemingly endless quest for the fare.
It was “a little bit chaotic,” he said.
Fortunately, the experience didn’t deter the firefighters from the festive effort to bolster their charitable society’s fundraising, which benefits local projects and initiatives as well as the BC Professional Firefighters’ Burn Fund.
It did, however, inspire them to get “a little better” at the task with each passing year. They added grills to ensure more food could be cooked at one time, and adjusted the quantity column on the grocery list to accommodate a crowd that, last year, feasted on around 800 breakfasts.
“That’s a lot of pancakes,” Davison said. “The guys get on the grill around 6 a.m.”
This year, Davison says the Local 2407 crew will be firing up the fun for the 23rd year this coming Saturday (Dec. 1).
Those who have made a tradition of the occasion – which many have, Davison noted – know the routine: breakfast is to served from 8 a.m. to noon (the firehall is typically packed by 8:20 a.m., Davison said), Santa will be on hand for photos (he’s scheduled to arrive at 8:30 a.m.) and there’ll be a firehall-themed gingerbread house up for raffle.
They’ll also welcome donations of new, unwrapped toys for local kids.
The only slight variation for 2018 is an increase in the cost of breakfast, to $5 for kids (from $3) and $7 for adults (from $5).
Davison said the increase is the first in “about 20 years,” and that the difference will help both with the costs of hosting the event, as well as in boosting the amount raised, he said.
The firehall is located at 15315 Pacific Ave.