Cafe at Adele’s in Carson City hosting cookies with Santa Dec. 19

For a few hours one day each year, children of all ages are offered the opportunity to immerse themselves in the full spirit of the season, when Cafe at Adele’s hosts Cookies with Santa, a benefit event that combines all the best aspects of good cheer with helping to provide gifts for area children.

Saturday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., everyone is invited for cocoa and cookies and a visit with Santa Claus, during this annual event.

“We simply ask for a $5 per adult (no cost for children) donation and that everyone bring an unwrapped toy, all of which will be given to Ron Wood Family Resource Center so they can make Christmas memorable for children who otherwise may not have one,” said Charlie Abowd, chef and co-owner. “This is a way to both bring the community together to celebrate the season, as well as saying thank you for lending a hand to make a difference.”

Cafe at Adele’s is also still accepting items for the Reno Rodeo Denim Drive — new jeans, shirts, socks, coats, etc. Items collected for the Drive, stay in the community in which they are collected.

Also, Walmart is no longer allowing toys to be donated or collected at the stores, which has raised concerns among those who plan the toy drives and distributions, as to whether they will be able to meet demand.

“This is a huge concern, which makes what we do even more important,” Abowd said.

The common theme that always arises in talking with people involved in the event each year, is the embodiment of the warmth and joy of Christmas in an environment that is relaxed and fun.

Trent and Lori Dowell have provided photos with Santa every year since the inception, and the satisfaction multiples over time, Trent said.

“My job and my life has changed, but this remains consistent and sure, while it is a lot of work it doesn’t feel like it,” he said. “The way things are (in society) and the way things spin, this is a better charger, it is the opportunity to see people at least once a year, we see people’s children grow up, Tom (Strekal who is Santa) is amazing, and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling every time.”

Lions Like These, the new incarnation of the Dowell brothers duo, will perform Christmas music as they have done most years. These talented young men perform folk music which can be heard on Sound Cloud. It is Trent’s hope that one day the couple’s younger son, Steven, will add his violin playing to the mix for the community’s enjoyment.

Tom Strekal is Santa each year in the truest sense in that for six weeks each year, he takes on that persona in mind, body and spirit. In addition to Cookies with Santa, he spends the holiday season not only fulfilling his radio announcing work at KUNR, but can be found riding the rails on the Polar Express and Candy Cane Express, as well as appearing at the skating rink at Aces Ballpark in Reno and private parties through Christmas Eve.

“It is self-imposed busy-ness that I have really come to enjoy, and it has been quite a marvelous metamorphosis or maturation, which has taught me a lot about myself,” Strekal said. “Cookies with Santa provides a wonderful sense of community that is warm, inviting with no pressure, and it’s grand.

“Charlie and Karen (Abowd) undertake to do this with such joy, and I am honored to be a part of their good works.”

Perhaps one of the most delightful elements is that there is no rush for children to warm up to Santa. Everyone is free to be at ease and take their time.

“That’s the glory of it to me, that no one is rushing the children through a line and adults too, generally don’t want to get to close ... I have found invariably, given time, it works out,” Strekal said. “I joke that I often see the highest incidents of children with dislocated shoulders this time of year from parents forcing their children to get close to Santa, which in this case, doesn’t happen (as there are no time constraints). The one thing I do as Santa is look everyone in the eye, listen to them and it brings me great joy to make them laugh,” he said. “It has made me younger ... I am 500 years old and going strong.”

If Santa could have one wish this Christmas season though, it would be that Cafe at Adele’s be kept just a pinch cooler to accommodate the “sumptuous” suit in just the right shade of red (with a hint of burgundy) he wears for this occasion.

And given how much demand there is, has required the photos with Santa process to be streamlined. Therefore, families will receive at no cost, one photo that day. They can then access additional photos at no cost on Facebook at .

“If anyone wants to donate for the photo, I encourage them to put the money in the donation jar at the bar, which will all go to Ron Wood, since this is the thing Lori and I do to give back,” Trent said.

For more information about Cookies with Santa, call 775-882-3353. Cafe at Adele’s is located at 1112 N. Carson St.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment