The legacy of Santa’s Village can be measured in the amount of food and toys that have been collected and donated to service agencies through its 26 years.
Those donations — totaling $933,462 — have been distributed to area residents who need them.
Santa’s Village will mark its 27th anniversary Dec. 8-11, continuing that tradition and also continuing to provide four days of family holiday entertainment.
To date, a total of 239,256 people have attended Santa’s Village.
The fantasyland provides the sights, sounds and fun of Christmas. It is staged each year at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
This year’s event will be open Dec. 8-9 from 6-9 p.m.; Dec. 10 from 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Dec. 11 from 1-5 p.m.
Santa’s Village will return to the “Enchanted Forest” theme in scenes depicting the holidays. Also featured will be a giant Christmas tree, wagon rides on Friday through Sunday, an MTD model train display, children’s rides and vendor booths. Twenty hours of continuous local entertainment and a petting farm will add to the festivities.
Admission is a suggested donation of $5 worth of non-perishable foods and/or toys.
Service agencies which will receive food and toys collected at Santa’s Village this year include Chimes for Charity, Northwest Tennessee Disaster Services, We Care Ministries, Santa’s Helpers, Healthy Start Northwest Region and Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council.
Co-sponsors for the event are the City of Martin and UT Martin. Additional sponsors include First State, MTD Products, Tyson Foods, Volunteer Community Hospital and McDonald’s. As part of the event each year, WCMT radio sponsors a can caravan for canned food donations collected at schools.
“We are fortunate to have sponsors who contribute money, as well as volunteers who spend their time and effort helping in this event,” said Kim Kirby, Martin Parks and Recreation Department program director. “We are proud to provide a free holiday event, while helping the less fortunate in the area.”
Kirby expressed appreciation to the service agencies that use the bounty of food and toys from Santa’s Village to benefit families in the region at Christmas time and, in some cases, throughout the year.
For more information about Santa’s Village, contact Martin Parks and Recreation Department at (731) 587-6784.
Published in The Messenger 11.18.11