The Downtown Kenosha Catholic parishes hosted their first Breakfast with Santa event Saturday, Dec. 16. (Photo by Karen Mahoney)

Holding a tiny red gift he received from Santa after spilling his secrets, 4-year-old Bradley Pecore took a break from his pancakes and sausage to explain his plan to see Santa on Christmas Eve.

“I am going to stay awake in my bed and when he gets near me, I am going to get up and see what he leaves under our tree,” he said.

As for his heart’s desires this year?

“I want boy stuff,” he said, “and a dinosaur with babies.”

More than 150 children and their families enjoyed the first annual Downtown Kenosha Catholic Breakfast with Santa, held at St. Elizabeth Parish on Saturday, Dec. 16.

The idea to host the breakfast event was the brainchild of Jesse Gomez, the new director of public events who is also in charge of parishioner outreach and engagement.

“We have had a lot of interest in this event. We repainted the cafeteria for this breakfast,” he said. “Since this is my first year, I wanted to create an event that would tie the two parishes — St. James the Apostle and St. Elizabeth — together. I also want to reach out more in the downtown area, so this is a fun first step. We have had great feedback so far and significant ticket sales.”

Gomez and 17 volunteers from DTKC served pancakes, sausage, juice, coffee, milk and soda to hungry guests. Children visited with Santa and a professional photographer was on hand for paying customers to snap photos of the excited children and their families. The families received digital and printed photos of their children with Santa.

A craft room with family-friendly arts and crafts provided fun activities, such as making paper gingerbread houses, games and drawing snowmen while blindfolded.

The highlight of the breakfast was, of course, a certain jolly old soul in a red suit, explained Gomez.

“Every year, a local celebrity dons his merry apparel as Santa for our elementary religious education students,” Gomez said. “We are excited we could expand this Christmas experience to the greater downtown community.”

Gomez explained they weren’t sure how well the event would do, but his concerns quickly faded as parents quickly snapped up the tickets.

“This was a great opportunity to open our doors to the public so guests can come and enjoy delicious food and good company with family and friends,” he said.