The 1,480 children who visited the Candy Cane Lane drive-thru event in Kent revealed some deep thoughts in the letters they dropped off for Santa Claus.
“The letters made it all worth it,” said Bailey Stober, city communications manager, in an email about the city-sponsored event. “We got letters from Kent, Sammamish, Bellevue, Puyallup and everywhere in between. Kids asked for the typical things like toys and games, but also asked to see relatives who had passed away and for things to be easier for their families as they battle through COVID.”
The kids were given treat cups that included hot cocoa, mini candy canes and a light-up reindeer nose.
More than 1,000 cars participated in the free event Dec. 12 presented by the city of Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, Stober said. Drivers entered at Hogan Park at Russell Road, 24400 Russell Road, and drove up to the Kent Valley Ice Centre lower parking lot to see the holiday display and Santa. No tickets or registration were required.
Children could fill out a Santa wish list and provide a return mailing address in order to hear back from the North Pole.
“Santa has confirmed that he has read every single letter — he has responded to 1,000 of them so far and has over 500 more responses going out tomorrow,” Stober said Dec. 15.
Several people noted on social media that the traffic backed up to the accesso ShoWare Center and that they waited for more than an hour. The event ran from 4 to 7 p.m.
“Cars were backed up a long distance but that is likely because this was a free community event in the COVID era,” Stober said. “We stayed open an extra 20 minutes to make sure that every car that waited got to come through and see Santa and drop off their letter.”
Stober said they heard that some people wanted a bigger light display.
“While that wasn’t advertised, it is something we will take into consideration for future events,” he said.
Overall, people seemed pleased with Candy Cane Lane.
“While it wasn’t a perfect event, because none ever are, it is an event we are particularly proud of and thankful we could offer this free opportunity for kids and families,” Stober said. “We will continue to think outside of the box on ways we can support the community during this challenging time.”