Hesperians used to getting free refreshments at the community's annual Christmas will be able to get one more freebie this year, along with the hot cocoa and kettle corn: flu shots.


The shots, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, will provide a counterpoint to an afternoon filled with festivities, including live music from the Working Poets, an Oak Hills High School quartet and choirs from both Hesperia Christian School and Hesperia High School.


In addition to the free refreshments, there will also be food vendors and a coffee truck at the park.


Those feeling it's better to give than receive can contribute to the San Bernardino County Fire Department's Spark of Love Holiday Toy Drive. Girl Scout Troop 1335 will have holiday cards available for mailing to military service members overseas.


The culmination of the activities will be the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus and the lighting of the 70-foot-tall Deodar cedar Christmas tree just after sundown. For those not willing to brave the sometimes-lengthy line to speak with Santa, there will be a mailbox for sending him letters. Santa will also be bringing a special surprise with him.


The 23rd annual Hesperia Christmas tree lighting is a joint event of the Hesperia Recreation and Park District and the city. The festivities take place on Thursday at Hesperia Civic Plaza Park, behind city hall, starting at 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit HesperiaParks.com or call (760) 244-5488.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.