DARLINGTON — Darlington County firefighters kicked off their Christmas season Oct. 26 with Santa’s Fall Festival at Darlington Raceway — a fundraiser for the Darlington County Fire District’s 10th annual Santa’s Helpers Program.

Participants from around the area turned out for carnival games, food and drink vendors, a silent auction, a raffle, firetrucks and other first-responder vehicles as well as demonstrations of some of the services the county fire district offers.

The festival this year is the primary fundraiser for the Christmas effort.

“Santa’s Helpers is fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Whitnie Avant to organize the event,” a representative of the department said.

Each year, families in need fill out applications and go through an interview process to ensure they meet the requirements of the Santa’s Helpers program as well as get detailed lists of what the children would like for Christmas.

Families are then able to pick up the carefully chosen toys and gifts, so their children can enjoy Christmas morning while keeping the spirit of Santa Claus alive in their young lives.

Over the years, Santa’s Helpers has been able to assist more than 700 children.

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