It seems that no matter where Santa Claus goes this time of year, children follow.
The annual Breakfast with Santa drew a record crowd to the Rouzerville Ruritan Club on Saturday, according to event organizers.
Allen Scott, immediate past president of the Rouzerville Lions Club, was up bright and early to stay ahead of the rush, but his plan didn’t work out the way he hoped.
“We started setting up at 7 o’clock and serving at 8 (a.m.), but we can barely keep up with the demand,” Scott said.
Kitchen volunteers worked feverishly cooking up sausage links, scrambled eggs and pancakes, but they just couldn’t get ahead.
“It’s been nonstop, and it will be pretty much that way until 11 a.m.,” Scott said. “This blows us away.”
The event, hosted by the Rouzerville Lions Club for the second consecutive year, served more than 370 people in 2011.
But Scott said Saturday’s breakfast was one for the record books.
While the Lions bought the same amount of food for Saturday’s breakfast, several volunteers had to make a last-minute food run to accommodate the hungry crowd because supplies were running low, Scott said.
Lions Club President Don Embly didn’t want to guess at the number in attendance, but said 400 to 500 people would be a conservative figure.
“Last year, it was nothing like today,” he said. “I had a heck of a time just getting in the door.”
While the event is a fundraiser for the Lions Club, which supports the community by helping people with vision-related problems, Embly said the breakfast is really about the kids.
“We just want the kids to have a good time, and it’s not just for the kids — the adults are having fun, too,” he said.
The all-you-can-eat breakfast cost $5 for adults and $3 for children. Every child got a free picture with Santa, free passes to Cosmic Skate and Play in Waynesboro, Pa., on Saturday afternoon and a free train ride at Red Run Park.
Jenna Stottlemyer of Waynesboro brought her niece, Kya Reese, 7, her nephew, Corey, 5, and her children, Aliyah, 11, and Landon Reese, 4.
“It’s just something to help you get in the spirit (of the season),” she said while replenishing food for the troops.
“It’s yummy!” Kya said while trying to swallow a mouthful of pancakes.
She came to the breakfast as much for the food as to give Santa her modest Christmas list, which includes new boots and a Furby.
Attending holiday events with her great granddaughter, Taylor Atherton, 7, helps Joanne Bischoff of Waynesboro enjoy the child-like magic of the holidays.
“I wanted her (Taylor) to see Santa Claus,” Bischoff said about attending the breakfast.
She said not only was the food delicious, but the event benefits a worthwhile cause.
This is the first time Ashley Powers of Chambersburg, Pa., and her family took part in the Breakfast with Santa.
“We came to eat some pancakes with Santa and to have a nice sit-down talk with Santa because most places, you have to hurry up, snap a picture and leave,” Powers said.
That isn’t the case here, she said.
Powers and her daughters, Kyleigh, 5, and Aubrey Cifolilli, 1, had a great time and plan to return next year.