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Santa, Santa, Santa!
Santas Around the World arriving Saturday
Mrs. Claus, shown here with Santa, is the new addition to the Santas Around the World exhibit, which opens for the 2022 season on Saturday, during the Home for the Holidays celebration in downtown Great Bend. Lifelike Santas from around the world were created by Great Bend artist Loretta Miller. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Santa is back in town – and so is Mrs. Claus.

The couple from the North Pole will arrive in Hoisington Friday night, Nov. 25, during that city’s downtown celebration at the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce Office, 122 N. Main, from 5-7 p.m.

Santa will also be in Great Bend on Saturday, joining the Home for the Holidays Parade at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street. After the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting, around 6:30 p.m., Santa will make his way to the Santas Around the World exhibit at 1223 Main.

“There will be a steady stream of people here to see Santa,” predicted Michael Dawes with Rosewood Services, sponsor of the annual exhibit. Santa will be seated in the front area of the exhibit to visit with children, while those who venture further inside can view two dozen figures that make up the unique “Santas Around the World” exhibition. There are life-size Santas from multiple countries – from Africa to the U.S.A. – all made by Great Bend artist Loretta Miller.

Mrs. Claus joins the exhibit

This year there is a new figure in the exhibit, as Mrs. Claus takes a seat beside the American Santa.

“The last time that Loretta did a Santa for this exhibit was 2005,” Dawes said of the long-awaited addition.

Miller started making the Santas in 1998, when they were featured separately in downtown businesses. She continued to make about two figures a year and eventually they were combined into a single exhibit.

Santas Around the World will continue to be open to the public for its regular holiday schedule starting Sunday. Hours are 1-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 4-6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. By the final showing on Dec. 23, Dawes estimates 600-700 people will have come through the exhibit.

Admission to this exhibit is free, but donations to the Rosewood Roots and Wings Foundation are appreciated.

An evening of fun

Mild weather is predicted for Saturday, with shopping adventures during the day and the Home for the Holidays lighted parade at 5:30 p.m.

There will be pop-up stores, the $1,000 Explore Great Bend wrap-up, and the Great Bend Cookie Contest. The Golden Belt Humane Society/Adopt A Pet will host Dog Day Out, where people can enjoy sloppy joes and walk a shelter dog in Jack Kilby Square. People who already have a dog are invited to bring their own and register for giveaways and a doggie talent and/or beauty show.

After Mayor Cody Schmidt lights the Mayor’s Christmas Tree in the courthouse square, enjoy free train rides provided by the City of Great Bend, free horse-drawn carriage rides provided by Rosewood Services, free hot dogs, cider, hot chocolate, funnel cakes, etc., and the “fire and ice” show: an ice sculpting performance by Reverend Butter and a fire bending performance by Phlox Fire.

A few visitors had an early look at Santas Around the World back in October.