Backus Legion Auxiliary hosts drive-thru event with Santa

Coronavirus restrictions lead the group to get creative to continue an annual tradition

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Santa and Mrs. Claus visited with children in their cars at the Dec. 12 Backus American Legion Auxiliary "North Pole" drive-through. Submitted Photo

It was a short drive for many families Saturday, Dec. 12, to the Backus American Legion Auxiliary’s “North Pole” where children were treated to Christmas gift bags handed out by Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves at a drive-thru event.

A substitute for the auxiliary’s usual indoor Kids’ Christmas Party due to COVID-19 restrictions this year, the drive-thru was a big hit with vehicles lined up well in advance of the 11 a.m. start time. The children received $10 Dollar Store gift certificates donated by the Legion post, a variety of candy and snacks, games, toys, a craft project, pencils and a jingle bell necklace.

The kids also got to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, relating their Christmas wishes that included a “Pop the Pig” game, a doctor medical set, unicorn and T-Rex dinosaur.

The gifts were donated by the auxiliary, local citizens and the Legion post, which provided $1,000 for 100 $10 certificates from its charitable gaming partnership, which includes the Legion and its gaming affiliate, Willard’s Saloon and Eatery in downtown Backus.


Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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