Santa is coming to Kenai on Friday, marking the beginning of the holiday season, said Johna Beech, Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center executive director.
“We have cookies and cocoa for the children, and as they see Santa they get a grab bag that was sponsored by XTO (Energy),” Beech said. “Each grab bag includes little hats, mittens, kaleidoscope, a whistle, fun little stuff.”
Santa will arrive at the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center at 11 a.m., but cookies and cocoa are not the first event in this year’s Christmas Comes to Kenai, sponsored by Stanly Ford, Kenai, McDonalds, Kenai Lions and XTO Energy.
At 10 a.m. the Kenai Fine Arts Guild’s annual crafts fair opens at Kenai Central High School.
“It’s the biggest craft fair on the peninsula,” said Laura Faeo, event organizer.
The craft fair features hand-made Alaskan crafts and it is often crowded all day, Faeo said.
All proceeds benefit the Kenai Fine Arts Center and the Peninsula Arts Guild. The event runs Saturday, also.
The second annual Tustumena 200 Turkey Trot, a 5- or 10-kilometer foot race, will start at 2 p.m. in the Kenai Visitor Center’s parking lot.
The race will follow Frontage Road to the Kenai Central High School and then loop back, Beech said.
It is $20 to enter for participants ages 13 and up, and free for participants 12 and under.
The electric lights parade begins at 6 p.m. at Spur View Road, and it will follow Frontage Road and end in the Kenai Visitor Center parking lot.
As of Wednesday Beech said the parade has 10 entries, but she is expecting more Friday.
“Once the electric lights parade ends in the parking lot of the visitor center, we actually have a bonfire,” Beech said, “and Kenai Lions will be handing out cocoa that has been donated by McDonalds.”
Fireworks will conclude the night at 7:30 p.m.
“Between Santa visiting, between the running group that comes for the run, the electric lights parade, the cocoa, the fireworks, there’s a little bit of everything for everybody,” Beech said.
Dan Schwartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.