Santa Claus comes to Old Town

Posted Dec. 1, 2006
Rhiannon Mim

Leaving the reindeer at home, Santa Claus cruised down Third Street in a classic 1932 Ford Roadster at La Verne’s Holiday Open House Saturday. More than 80 classic cars lined Third and D streets and the Wilson Library parking lot for the annual event. A collection of unwrapped toys was also gathered as part of the Spark Of Love Toy Drive hosted by firefighters from across Southern California.


Santa Claus came to town a little early this year for city of La Verne children who handed in their wish list to good old St. Nick at the Ninth Annual Holiday Car Show and Toy Drive.

The crisp cold air of a November morning was not an obstacle for almost 100 Inland Valley residents who showcased their classic cars on Saturday and whose main goal was to gather toys for the needy children of the city of La Verne.

“Usually there would be more cars,” said Patrick Bradley, a Rancho Cucamonga resident who participated in the event. “And it’s good for the kids, we gotta help underprivileged children.”

Bradley has attended the show many times but this was his first time participating at the event and showcased his 1966 persimmon orange 480 horse power Chevy Chevelle.

Meanwhile children waited anxiously as they saw the empty chair at the corner of Third and D streets, which announced that Santa Claus would arrive at 1 p.m.

The car show continued with classics like a 1940 bright pink Ford Coupe complete with license plates that read, “40 HOT,” a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, a 1967 Ford Mustang and even a 1941 Ford Business Coupe.

“It’s so much fun to come out here and socialize with all the people,” said Bonnie Mauch, owner of the Business Coupe. “It is such a great hobby.”

Mauch acquired the beige color Business Coupe from Eddie Heart, the original owner and restored it to its current shape.

Mauch owns several other classic cars along with her husband Norm Mauch including a 1957 Oldsmobile which Norm Mauch likes to call the, “Oldsillac” because the interior is of an Oldsmobile but has the motor of a Cadillac.

Although the car show was entertainment for the entire family, for the children, the most exiting part of the day was about to begin when, at 1:10 p.m. the Beach Boys could be heard through the speakers singing, “Santa Claus is coming to town.”

The children did not mind he was 10 minutes late, and Santa happily announced that he only wanted to say one thing and that was, “Ho Ho Ho and Merry Christmas.”

“She just wants to see Santa, that’s all she cares about,” said Karen Colasuonno, who brought her 2-year-old daughter Olivia. Olivia was anxious to ask Santa for a Christmas present: a Play-Doh table.

As children’s Christmas wishes ranged from Play-Doh tables to PlayStation 3s, one little boy even announced through the microphone that he wanted a bicycle but would settle for a Cadillac.

The Holiday Car Show and Toy drive began nine years ago when Lee LaMarche, La Verne resident, organized the event along with his dad Connie LaMarche.

“We decided we wanted to help out the kids,” Lee LaMarche said.

During its first years, the show took place on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Damien Avenue but as the years passed and the popularity of the show increased, they were forced to move the event to Old Town La Verne where there is more space.

The toys are collected by the city of La Verne Fire Department who distributes them among the needy children of La Verne during the Christmas season.

Lee LaMarche plans on continuing the car show to attract as many people as possible to help with the toy drive and continue to bring smiles to the children of La Verne.

Laura Bucio can be reached at lbucio@ulv.edu.

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