Children enjoy magic show, pizza lunch and visit from Santa Claus

 Published in the December 27 – January 9, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

A veteran member of the Gilroy VFW post has fun with his daughter and Santa at the recent childrens’ Christmas party.
Photo by Marty Cheek

The holiday season transforms into a special magical time for local veterans’ families when Santa Claus pays them a surprise visit at Gilroy’s Veterans of Foreign Wars’ Christmas party.

The tradition has taken place every year for at least two decades. Held the afternoon of Saturday, Dec. 16, this year’s party brought in children of VFW Post 6309 members to the Sixth Street building to enjoy a magic show and a special pizza and popcorn lunch with the Jolly Old Elf himself. Children who participate range in age from newborns to 10-year-olds, said Gabe Perez, post commander. The children and their families enjoyed the performance of Magic Mike of Magic Time Productions in front of the tall Christmas tree. Magic Mike worked with a mischievous bunny rabbit in a hat and did logic-defying card tricks with audience members. Families need to have a registered member of the post to participate, Perez said. There are 240 members at the Gilroy-based post.

“We do it for the veterans and the immediate families such as the son and granddaughters,” Perez said.  “The kids enjoy it. We decorate the tree on Sunday. We get it out of Hollister from a tree farm. It smells so good.”

Among the children who attended was 9-year-old Brayden Casillas of Capri Elementary School in San Jose and his 6-year-old brother Jack Casillas. Their grandfather, Raul Torres, is a new member of the VFW post.

“This is my first time to the event, Brayden said. “My grandma told me Santa was going to be here.”

Santa Claus joins Magic Mike to bring plenty of yuletide fun and slight-of-hand tricks to local veterans and their families at the annual Christmas party held Dec. 16 at the downtown VFW hall.
Photo by Marty Cheek

The best part of Christmas is “spending time with my family,” he said.

For Jack, he enjoyed the performance by Magic Mike.

“I liked the magic show a lot,” he said. “The best part was the blocks.”

Their grandmother, Irma Torres, is the city clerk for Morgan Hill.

“The kids are enjoying it. There’s great entertainment to get the kids involved and get into the Christmas spirit,’ she said.

Torres was impressed by the magic show

“I could not figure it out. It was very magical,” she said.

Raul was in the U.S. Marines from 1965 to 1969 and wants to join the Color Guard for the VFW post, she said.