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Thank You, Merchants: Gering Merchants tally numbers for successful Santa’s Village season
January 08, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

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Photos by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Members of the Gering Merchants Association gathered for a final picture before the 2014 edition of Santa’s Village is packed up for the year. Front row from left are John Ewing, Kay Helberg, Tom Cozad, Donna Cozad, Janet Mitchell, Gloria Gibbs, and Darlene Tagler. Back row are Linda Harimon, Amy Doll, Karla Niedan-Streeks, Judy Keller, RaNae Garton, and Kevin Sandberg.

Once the numbers were totaled, the 2014 edition of Santa’s Village was a big success for the Gering Merchants Association.
Starting with the opening following the Christmas Parade and the next four Saturdays, Santa was at the village to greet the community’s young people. In the process, more than 1,200 bags of candy were given out, 50 gallons of hot chocolate consumed, along with about 150 dozen cookies donated by the Gering Bakery.

“We had fantastic crowds the entire time,” said merchants’ member Gloria Gibbs. “It must have been in the thousands when the adults were included.”

During the week, when Santa’s Village was closed, people still came by to look at the eight buildings and take pictures.

The Gering Merchants sponsored Santa’s Village for the opening on Nov. 28. Volunteer groups who sponsored the event the next four Saturdays included Valley Bank and Insurance, the Gering Kiwanis, the Gering Volunteer Fire Department and Platte Valley Bank.

Merchants member Tom Cozad said because of storage space and limited space in the Gering Civic Center parking lot, eight buildings are the most they can set up.
“In the next year, we’re going to start refurbishing some of the older buildings,” he said. “With a donation from Platte Valley Bank, we’re going to build a Santa’s Workshop this upcoming year. Hopefully, we’ll have some animated characters in that one.”

Santa’s Village just completed its 13th year in December. Cozad said he puts an address on the buildings he’s built for them. Santa’s house address is 101, one of the first houses built in 2001. The latest, the Candy Cottage, has a 2014 address. And the always-popular igloo carried a 2004 address.

Santa’s Village won’t officially dismantled and taken into storage until later in January, due to the snow. But members of the Gering Merchants Association gathered on Jan. 2 for a picture and to thank the community for their continued support throughout the year.

RaNae Garton and Donna Cozad don their hats.
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