Long Branch: The Annual Holiday Visit of Santa was on schedule on Wednesday at the Bucky James Theater with more than 200 bright-eyed youngsters enjoying the afternoon at the gym where Santa had set up a great place to chat.
The city's Recreation department and the Men Make A Difference team made the arrangements and were helped by the Long Branch High School Basketball Team, many of whom had been there a few years before as young Santa discoverers.
Each child received a wrapped gift from Santa and then proceeded to two large tables of books, arranged by age of readers and personally chosen by the child, with some help from Mom or family member as needed. The selection was filled with subjects that appealed to the youngsters.
The busy afternoon was just right for crowd, and within walking distance as well.
The program has been an annual tradition since the Bucky James has been in the city, said Recreation's Tim Cox, who has served many years. He will be retiring soon, but chances are he will be back for the Santa visit as one volunteer guessed.