Lincoln tradition provides gifts to hundreds

By: Kayla Bremer

Hundreds of families flooded Pershing Auditorium on Sunday in the spirit of Christmas.

It's for a tradition that has gone on in Lincoln for more than a century.  The Elk's Christmas Party is held every year to get people in the holiday spirit and to give back to the community.

Hundreds of kids and their families anxiously waited in line to pick out a present.  It's the 105th year the event has been held in Lincoln.

As families came into Pershing, they were handed Starburst with many of them marked as a prize winner.  Those lucky ones who got the winning candy were able to pick out whatever present they wanted.

For many families, this is part of their holiday tradition.

“We've actually been coming for years,” Juliana Nash said.  “My daughter who's 25 has been coming since she was a baby and now my grandson comes and I still bring my 8–year–old.”

The grand prize winner went home with a Wii gaming system.  Other kids held their new toys and proudly showed them off to us before heading into the magic show.

“We get to open our present and have a fun time with our family!” Arika of Lincoln said.

Admission is free and it's open to anyone.

Elks is a national organization that works with youth and veterans among many other things.  They put on this party as a way to give back to the community.

“It's for basically everybody,” Larry Bratt said.  “There's a lot of youth in our community that don't get to have a Christmas or if they do get presents, it's just something real small or whatever so this gives them a chance to come out and be with other kids, enjoy free entertainment and just make a fun day out of it and enjoy the spirit of Christmas.”

This year more than 600 gifts were donated to the Christmas party.