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Gering Merchants prepare for holiday season: Santa to arrive for opening of Santa’s Village Nov. 28
November 06, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The Gering Merchants Association is sponsoring the “Let it Shine” Christmas parade again this year to welcome Santa to Santa’s Village, opening on Friday, Nov. 28.

Now in its 9th year, the Christmas Parade through downtown Gering kicks off the holiday season as Santa makes his way to Santa’s Village in the Gering Civic Center, where he will greet the kids and get their gift ideas.

There were a record number of 25 entries last year and event coordinator RaNae Garton said registration information will be sent out soon to local businesses. There is no entry fee and groups interested in participating can contact Garton at (308) 641-2842 or Donna Cozad at (308) 436-7312.

“People really get into the spirit of the event,” Garton said “Some of the floats people have entered the last couple of years have been amazing.”

Floats can start arriving at 5 p.m. at Gardner Park for judging. Prizes of 100, 75 and 50 dollars will be awarded to the top three entries. The parade starts at 6 p.m. at the corner of 10th and T Streets, then south through downtown to Santa’s Village at the Gering Civic Center.

Gering Merchants will also be serving cookies and hot chocolate that evening, along with candy for the kids. And Bluffs Broadcasting will have a live remote that evening.

Also returning is a crowd favorite – a small herd of reindeer, made possible with help from Valley Insurance. Following the parade, Santa will have them at Santa’s Village that evening and again on Saturday, Nov. 29.

This is the reindeer herd’s third year for the event, and twice in the parade. “I think it’s so special that kids are able to actually see some reindeer,” said Amy Doll of Valley Insurance and Santa’s Helper. “They read books about reindeer, they see them on television, but may not get to see them in person. Reindeer and Christmas go hand in hand and I think it’s a neat experience for people to see them. It just adds to the magic of the season. And it’s fun for our staff to help make it happen.”

Santa’s Village, where Santa has been greeting the kids since 2001, will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Nov. 29, and on Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Dec. 6 is also the day that Scotts Bluff National Monument and Legacy of the Plains Museum will host special Christmas season events for the community, so families can spend the day in Gering.

“It’s a fun event to promote Gering and see families come together to celebrate the Christmas spirit,” Garton said.

The public will also notice there will be new snowflake Christmas lights and banners hanging along 10th Street this year. It’s part of the Gering Merchants Association’s mission to support, promote and increase pride and growth for all Gering businesses.

The regular monthly meeting of the Gering Merchants Association will be this Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 in the Gering City Council Chambers. The group will review the wrap-up of the Big Ten Raffle and make plans for the upcoming Santa’s Village and Gering’s Holiday Parade.

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