SONOMA, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2015) - More than 450 people enjoyed a day of holiday cheer at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday at the 11th annual "Race to the Holidays" Children's Christmas Party.

The raceway hosted nearly 300 Sonoma Valley children and their families at the event, which featured caroling, refreshments, a car display, balloon animals and a visit from Santa Claus, who arrived via a Schell-Vista Fire Department fire truck.

The event, which has drawn more than 2,400 children since its inception in 2005, culminated with Santa Claus presenting each child with a bag full of toys, as well as a new toothbrush and toothpaste. Children ranged in age from newborn to 12-years-old.

"It's amazing that you do this for the kids. The balloons, the face painting, the whole thing," said Zuli Vargas, who attended the party with her 2 year old nephew and sister. "It's a great chance for the kids to see Santa."

Upon hearing the children caroling his favorite tune, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Santa greeted the children on his way into the event hall before handing out gifts. The children left the raceway with new toys and wide smiles after a complimentary lunch at the Raceway Café.

"This is probably the only time these kids will see Santa all year, so this is a great thing for them to have," said Maria Calvillo, client resource associate at La Luz. "We work with these families all year and this is their only chance to experience this."

        All children were pre-registered through six Sonoma Valley youth groups, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, El Verano Elementary School, Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.), La Luz, Stand By Me Mentoring and the Sonoma Valley Teen Parent Program.

The raceway received a generous outpouring of support from the community as more than 1,500 toys were donated for the party. Supporters of this year's event included: AAA Sonoma, California Highway Patrol, Dick Sharke, Don Sebastiani & Sons, Dr. Julie Forstadt DDS, Dr. Eva Marie Largoza DDS, Dr. Bob Nadjibi DDS, Dr. Kenneth Reyes DDS, Dr. Kristin De Vincenzi, Exchange Bank, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Save Mart/Lucky Supermarkets, Schell-Vista Fire Department, Sonoma City Hall, Sonoma Index-Tribune, Sonoma Stompers, Sonoma Valley Fire Department, United Site Services and verihealth, inc.