Santa Claus will be in Nanaimo on Saturday, Nov. 24, to kick off the Gingerbread Village fundraising event, benefiting Nanaimo Salvation Army. (Submitted photo)

Santa Claus flying in to visit Harbour City

Visit from St. Nick marks opening of Gingerbread Village at conference centre in Nanaimo

The festive season will begin in Nanaimo starting this weekend with a visit from Santa Claus.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas will fly in to the Harbour City on Saturday, Nov. 24, with the assistance of a Harbour Air seaplane, at 11:45 a.m. and will then proceed to make his way from the dock to the Gingerbread Village at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

According to a press release, the Gingerbread Village has numerous activities for people to partake in, including the decoration of gingerbread cookies, a colouring contest and photos with Kris Kringle himself. Also on display will be 2018 entries for B. Gingerbread Homes – 14 gingerbread houses, which have been built by local businesses, will be on display – and visitors can cast a ballot for their favourite house.

Donations are being taken and money will go towards housing initiatives of the Nanaimo Salvation Army, which includes its emergency shelter programs.

Local home-building company B. Gallant Homes is the lead organizer, and according to Byron Gallant, owner, it is a way to raise money for the needy.

“This will be the fourth year we have participated in hosting holiday events for families and other businesses. The events are a way for us to help build community in Nanaimo and to raise funds for the critical housing programs of the Nanaimo Salvation Army,” said Gallant in the press release.

More than $8,000 has been raised the past four years and Gallant and its event partners hope to reach $12,000 this year.

The event begins Nov. 24 with the arrival of Santa at 11:45 a.m. and the Gingerbread Village will go 12-4 p.m. On Dec. 1, the village will be open from 12-4 p.m. with the Nanaimo Lions Club Christmas Parade beginning at 5 p.m. The Victoria Crescent Association invites families to Victoria Crescent from 4-5 p.m. Dec. 1, when there will be hot drinks, cookies and music leading up to the light up of the big Christmas tree at 5 p.m. followed immediately by the start of the parade.

Dec. 8, the village will be open from 12-4 p.m. also, with popcorn and a movie from 1-2 p.m.

The village will be open from 12-4 p.m. on Dec. 15.

Photos may be taken with cellphones for free, but there will be a photographer who will take photos by donation to the Salvation Army.

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