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‘Christmas Around the World’ planned for Santa’s Village

‘Christmas Around the World’ planned for Santa’s Village

Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008 9:16 pm

Santa’s Village will celebrate its 24th year of operation Dec. 11-14 and continue to provide donations of food and toys to agencies that distribute the proceeds to area residents who need them. The holiday fantasyland — which provides the sights, sounds and fun of Christmas — is staged each year at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex at the University of Tennessee at Martin. This year’s event is set for 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11-12; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 13; and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 14. Santa’s Village will carry out the “Christmas Around the World” theme in scenes from holiday festivities in 10 different countries. Also featured will be a giant Christmas tree, wagon rides on Friday through Sunday, the MTD model train display, children’s inflatables and 54 shopping booths. Twenty hours of continuous entertainment, highlighting regional talent, and a petting farm will add to the festivities. The opening ceremony is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 11. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 worth of non-perishable foods and/or toys. Service agencies receiving food and toys collected at Santa’s Village this year include Chimes for Charity, the Obion County American Red Cross, the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council, We Care Ministries, Santa’s Helpers and the Department of Children’s Services. Co-sponsors for the event are Martin Parks and Recreation, the C.E. Weldon Public Library and UT Martin. Additional confirmed sponsors of the event include University Plaza, Hamilton-Ryker, First State, MTD Products, Tyson Foods, Volunteer Community Hospital and Southern Source. “This is a worthwhile program. It helps a lot of people, not just in Weakley County, but also in surrounding areas,” said Brian Moore, Martin Department of Parks and Recreation director, which coordinates the event each year. In the previous 23 years, Santa’s Village has collected $774,969 worth of food and toys and attracted 200,710 visitors to the community event. Last year, the value of the donations reached $60,685 and 12,837 people attended. Moore expressed thanks to the many sponsors and volunteers, who contribute time and money to the annual event, and the service agencies that use the bounty of food and toys from Santa’s Village to benefit families in the region at holiday time and, in some cases, throughout the year. “I know a lot of the time, we get the credit, but other departments of the city — including public works, the police department and the fire department — have all done things to make this happen. It’s the same thing with the university,” Moore said. He added that other agencies and people in the community also take part in making the program a success. At the annual kickoff luncheon recently held, Martin Mayor Randy Brundige and UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes spoke about the country’s economic times, with Brundige adding, “Santa’s Village is going to be a bright spot in children’s lives at Christmastime.” For more information about Santa’s Village, contact Martin Parks and Recreation Department at (731) 587-6784. Published in The Messenger 11.14.08

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