Carols played over the loudspeakers as workers dressed as elves loaded presents onto the sleigh.
People posed in front of the large Christmas tree and patiently waited in line for their chance to grab one of the festively wrapped presents.
It being a humid 81 degrees out, the whole scene felt a little odd, but it was all in good fun and for a great cause.
Tustin Police partnered with Chick-Fil-A, Tustin Buick GMC, the Boys & Girls Club and the Orange County Rescue Mission to bring Christmas in July to dozens of needy families living at the Village of Hope.
The department pulled out their handcrafted sleigh, built by Office George Vallevieni, to bring some joy to local families.
Each family received a box of essentials including baby items and non-perishable food.
Lt. Robert Wright, who oversees the Santa Sleigh Program and regularly assists with the sleigh during the holiday season, said “Regardless of the time of the year, it’s always nice to spread some Christmas cheer to the families in need. The look of excitement and happiness on the faces of the kids makes it special for us.”
Tustin PD’s Santa Sleigh has long been a holiday staple in the community.
Vallevieni, with support from the Community Foundation, built the sleigh in 1989 and has toured it around during Christmas season every year.
Nearly 12,000 children sit on Santa’s lap on that sleigh every year by the time their holiday tour is complete.
Tustin Mayor Chuck Puckett, who often plays Santa, said he was proud to see the project that Vallevieni started nearly 30 years ago have greater reach with Christmas in July.
“This is really a labor of love,” Puckett said. “George has really put his whole self into this.”