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Mayors to channel their inner Santas for annual Fair toy drive
Fair toy drive
Two young fair goers talk with Santa Claus during a previous Christmas toy drive held for the Salvation Army at the Stanislaus County Fair. This year, county Mayors will be helping Santa out in collecting toys at the Fair gates on Thursday. - photo by Photo Contributed

The Stanislaus County Fair and the Salvation Army are holding a toy drive at the Fair gates on Thursday. Fair guests who donate one or more toy will receive two carnival ride tickets from Butler Amusements. All donations will help local children receive gifts for Christmas this year.

“The Fair is about making memories for the children in our community. Helping those in need and making Christmas a special time for our children is especially important,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Fair. “We are happy to be a part of a wonderful cause and this year we are adding a different component with the Mayor’s challenge.”

Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth challenged his fellow Mayors from the nine cities in Stanislaus County to add a competitive element to the toy drive. The mayor’s challenge is for each Mayor to staff an entrance gate for a two-hour block between the hours of 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.  During this time, the community will be encouraged to bring a toy to the fair to aid the Salvation Army’s collection of toys for Christmas to those families less fortunate.

“The Mayor's challenge adds an element of friendly competition to a worthy cause,” said Soiseth. “We hope to break last year’s toy drive record to make sure children in communities across Stanislaus County can have a memorable Christmas.”

No donation is too small for The Salvation Army. Every donation will help give toys to children during Christmas. If a guest forgets to bring a toy, the Fair has vendors that sell toys.

The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the Universal Christian Church. It is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

For more information about the Stanislaus County Fair log onto its website at