CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — El Juguetazo, a traditional cultural event that celebrates the Three Kings, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 5, 1-4 p.m., at L.C. Bird High School, 10301 Courthouse Road. This celebration is observed in many Latino and Asian communities around the world and commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings or Wise Men (Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar) to visit baby Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
During the event, the Three Kings assist Santa by giving at least one new, unwrapped toy to every child who attends, ages 16 or younger. El Juguetazo is primarily for needy families who are not able to meet the requirements of other regional holiday assistance programs. While that is the primary reason the event was created 15 years ago, there is no registration or additional requirements to attend and all are welcome. In recent years, more than 2,400 children have enjoyed the El Juguetazo event.
Juan Santacoloma, the event coordinator and Chesterfield County Community Engagement Coordinator for Multicultural Services said “It has been a pleasure to plan this event for the past 15 years. It is always amazing to see the smiles on the faces of the children who receive toys from the three kings. It is a very special experience, and also a way to keep a cultural tradition alive with the communities who traditionally celebrate this day. For those who did not know about it before, they can begin to share in a new holiday tradition.”
Santacoloma added, “Fifteen years ago, there were no more than 200 children at the event and it was held in a parking lot. Now, the event is held at L.C. Bird High School, which can hold hundreds of people who come to celebrate this important holiday.”
This event would not be possible without the support and partnership of many community businesses, friends and organizations, including Latino Tax Business and Service, Anthem Health Keepers, Magellan Health, Aetna, Siempre Tax and Happy Kidz.
Toy donations are still needed for all ages and genders, however war-related toys will not be accepted. Donations of new toys may be dropped off at L.C. Bird High School on Saturday, Jan. 5, 9 a.m.-noon. For more information, or to make other donation arrangements, call Juan Santacoloma, 804 796-7085.