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Toys for Tots Christmas Cruise planned in Turlock
Christmas cruise
A Christmas Cruise open to the public is planned for downtown Turlock on Saturday to gather toy and coat donations for kids in need (Photo contributed).

A group of local community members are planning to host their own Christmas parade through downtown Turlock in protest of the annual City-hosted event being cancelled and in an effort to gather toys and coats for kids in need.

The California Valley Patriots and local businesses will host a Toys for Tots Christmas Cruise in Turlock on Saturday evening, where community members can decorate their vehicles and participate in an organized ‘cruise’ through downtown.

Organizer Daniel Fagundes said the event was being held in protest of the Governor’s stay-at-home orders and the City of Turlock’s unwillingness to hold its traditional holiday parade down Main Street due to COVID-19 concerns with large group gatherings.

“We’re doing this no matter what the restrictions are,” said Fagundes.

Vehicles of all kinds are welcome to meet starting at 3 p.m. Saturday in the north parking lot of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds off Soderquist Road to line up for a cruise that will make its way to Main Street beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The cruise will start from the fairgrounds, head down Broadway to Main Street and end at Palm Street. The U.S. Marines will be posted in front of the Charity Thrift Store at 402 E. Main St. to receive donations for the Toys for Tots program. According to Fagundes, there will also be live music. Cruise participants will receive a box of See’s Candies and a raffle ticket.

All cruisers are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots program and a coat, if possible, for the Coats 4 Kids campaign through Westside Ministries.

Fagundes said organizers expect 100 to 150 vehicles to participate in the cruise.