Last Saturday, as has happened for the past nine years, a small community sprang up in the parking lot of the Gering Civic Center – Santa’s Village.
From the day after Thanksgiving until just before Christmas, thousands of children come to visit Santa and discuss their wish list.
“This has become a big event,” said Tom Cozad, one of the event organizers. “Everyone loves coming down and watching the kids visit with Santa. As far as they’re concerned, this is Santa’s North Pole.”
Events begin on Friday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. with the annual Christmas Parade through downtown Gering. The last float is Santa, who then arrives at Santa Village at about 6:30 to visit with the kids. Hot chocolate and cookies are also available.
In conjunction with the Christmas Parade, the Gering American Legion is hosting a soup supper from 5 – 8 p.m.
The first Santa’s Village building, Santa’s house, was built by Tom Cozad in 2001. Since then, the village has grown to include eight buildings.
“This year, we’re going to retire the Tails of Love building,” Cozad said. “We’ll auction the building with the proceeds going back to the Tails of Love program. Then next year, we’ll build a Santa’s workshop building to add to the village.”
After the Friday night opening, Santa’s Village will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., with the final day being Dec. 17.
Also during the holiday season, the Gering Merchants are sponsoring the second annual Quilt About Gering. More than 30 handmade quilts will be on display in Gering businesses from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23. For more information or to submit a quilt for display, contact Darlene Tagler at Prairie Pines Quilt Shop in Gering.
Entries for the Christmas Parade are also being accepted. Contact Tagler or Chuck Cowan at Cowan’s Custom Cabinets for details.