GREAT FALLS — Hundreds of presents were handed out in Great Falls for the second annual "Operation Santa" on Christmas Day.
There were two teams of horses pulling behind them wagons with people who handed out gifts to students from Whittier Elementary School district.
Santa Claus made a special appearance to say hello to Great Falls kids at their doors with presents and candy canes in hand.
Each team had a fire truck escort to alert neighborhoods of the parade going down the street.
Kadee Carlbom owns one of the pairs of horses that pulled a sled - Dick and Click. She says she loves working with them and seeing them as part of the event.
“I love the horses. We just harness them up and we’re ready to go. And giving to kids too is great. Seeing them happy is awesome,” Carlbom said.
Laura Vukasin helps organize Operation Santa and provided the other team of horses and said it’s seamless to get them ready and loves to see them stroll down the streets of Great Falls.
“They’re very docile. They’re wonderful, calm, big teddy bears and this is what they love to do. Theylove to pull people around and they love to be the center of attention as well so this is a natural place for our horses,” Vukasin said.
More than 150 volunteers helped Santa give away more than 530 gifts.
“We’re doing what Santa does and that’s to bring joy and happiness to people on Christmas. It’s awesome. Everyone is so excited and so happy and so full of Christmas cheer,” Santa said.
Ivers Construction and Concrete and Cornerstone Appraisals help put on the big show. Vukasin says they got tons of help and had no problem getting gifts and people to help out giving Christmas gifts.
“We have lots of volunteers, lots of wonderful people who have already come down. We had trailers all loaded with gifts,” Vukasin said. “My favorite part is just the amount of support that we’ve gotten from the community. When people hear about it, everybody wants to be involved and there’s nothing better than getting everyone involved seeing the joy in the kids' faces and in some of the older people that come out experiencing a little bit about what they experience with Christmas.”
Vukasin and all the other organizers and volunteers wanted to say thank you to the community of Great Falls and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.