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Annual Christmas party a hit at Jacksonville Fairgrounds

Each child had the chance to spend time with Santa Claus

Santa Claus makes his entrance on a poilce cruiser at the annual Fraternity of Police Children's Christmas party.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The annual Fraternal Order of Police Children’s Christmas party was held Friday at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. 

Some students took the day off from school to celebrate the holidays with local officers.

The FOP has been holding this Christmas party for special needs kids in the area for more than 60 years and of course you can't have a Christmas party without the guest of honor, Santa Claus.

"For a lot of these kids this is going to be the only Christmas they have," Vic Groner, chairman, FOP Christmas Party. "We just try to make it a special day for our less fortunate students."

There were about 170 kids in attendance and each child had the chance to spend time with Santa and receive a gift. The party includes a lunch, music and presents.

Every year the FOP depends on donations and volunteers to make this party happen. The kids could hardly contain their excitement for this year's festivities.

"It's a lot of fun to see the kids, see the smiles, to see them light up and to be happy about Santa Clause,” said Terrance Hightower with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. “I have fun, I'm a big kid at heart."

Some of the children even got to sit behind the wheel of a police cruiser.

“The kids get excited, the officers get excited, I never have to worry about finding volunteers,” Groner said.