Gift of giving is message in Fargo Santa Village
The holiday spirit was alive and well as Santa Village opened for its 23rd season at Rheault Farm on Saturday. Taylor Bruer - better known by her elf name, Tinsel - works with the children who come to Santa Village. She says it is a great way to ...
The holiday spirit was alive and well as Santa Village opened for its 23rd season at Rheault Farm on Saturday.
Taylor Bruer - better known by her elf name, Tinsel - works with the children who come to Santa Village. She says it is a great way to get families excited about the holidays.
"It gets the kids into the Christmas spirit," Bruer said. "It really shows the magic of it."
Children who come to Santa Village can make Christmas arts and crafts, write a letter to Santa, take a sleigh ride or see live reindeer. They even have the opportunity to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus themselves.
But according to manager Miranda Wilson, the true holiday spirit comes from Santa Village's mission to help others in need.
"We're a giving village," Wilson said. "We like to give back to the community."
Each year, Santa Village collects monetary, food and toy donations for local charities and nonprofits. This year, donations will be distributed to the YMCA 21st Century Community Learning Center, Giving Tree of Hope, Great Plains Food Bank and Sanford Children's Foundation.
Program director Allison Bakke said that while Santa Village is meant to be a fun family event, the goal has always been to support other parts of the community.
"We wanted this event to be more of a donation-type event," Bakke said.
Last year, Santa Village attracted more than 10,000 people and brought in over 5,000 pounds of food, 1,000 toys and $2,000.
Santa Village also donates the letters written by children to Macy's, which in turn donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for each letter received. Last year alone, Santa Village contributed more than 3,000 letters.
According to Bakke, Santa Village provides an opportunity for families to be generous during the holidays while still having fun.
"If we get thousands of people coming, it's a good chance for people to come and help out," Bakke said.
Stephanie Hoff said she chose to bring canned goods to Santa Village to help meet the needs in the community this year.
"Everybody deserves to eat," she said. "There's probably a lot of kids and families who don't have a lot to eat, especially in this economy."
Hoff brought her daughter Jordyn to Santa Village for the first time this year. She said that Santa Village presented an occasion for her daughter to learn about giving.
"It's good to teach her to share," she said.
If you go
* What: Santa Village
* When: Wednesday through Sunday until Dec. 23; 4 to 8 p.m. weekdays, 1 to 7 p.m. weekends
* Where: Rheault Farm, 2902 25th St. S, Fargo
* Info: Free, but donations of canned goods, toys or cash are recommended. Call Rheault Farm at (701) 478-4100 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (701) 478-4100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (701) 478-4100 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (701) 478-4100 or Fargo Park District at (701) 241-8160 or (701) 241-8160