In order for Santa to be ready for Christmas day, he’ll be making an early visit to double-check the wish lists of Penticton’s children, and the Downtown Penticton Association is using the occasion to light up the city.
Santa, who will be joined by Mrs. Claus, will be meeting with kids around Penticton’s downtown on Dec. 5. He’ll be wandering the shopping district from 10 a.m. until noon, and is expected to pop into the annual Christmas Market, which is being hosted this year by the Bongarde group, located on 501 Main. St.
“We are encouraging everybody to take a selfie with either Santa or Mrs. Claus and upload it to the Downtown Penticton Facebook page and they can win some downtown dollars to do their holiday shopping with,” Milton said.
Santa and Mrs. Claus won’t be sticking to any schedule though, so their fans will have to search for him around Penticton’s retail district. Milton hinted that they might be found playing video games, getting a haircut or trying on some winter gear, and said more hints will be shared live through the DPA’s Facebook page during the their visit.
“Murray GM provides us our Santa chariot (truck) every year,” she said. “They do an amazing job and always surprise us with a well-decorated vehicle. It’s spectacular.”
Santa will be easy to find after 1 p.m. on Dec. 5 as he’ll be the man of the hour during the Royal Lepage Locations West Realty Santa Claus Parade.
“After the parade ends, Santa is disembarking at Gyro Park and he is going to be at the bandshell stage visiting with kids and anyone who wants to see him from 2 to 4 p.m.”
Following Santa’s visit, the DPA will initiate the second annual Christmas Tree Light Up at 4 p.m. at Gyro Park.
“Everybody really likes the feeling of having a community Christmas tree,” Milton said.
The Santa Claus parade and Light Up will happen at the same time as the first day of the Christmas Market, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 5, and continues again on Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“All the favourite vendors from our big Community Market will be there,” said Kerri Milton, executive director of the DPA. “There are lots of unique gifts that are hand made so you won’t be able to buy them in a retail store.”
There will be a total of 25 vendors at this year’s market, and Milton said the roster filled up fast, and with changes made to the Liquor Control and Licensing Act since last year, the Christmas Market is now allowed to feature products from local wineries
Adding to the spirit of the season on Saturday, Christmas music will be broadcast from Nanaimo Square, and popular truck vendors will be serving up food in Gyro Park, “so all of the downtown will be in the festive mood,” Milton said.