Santa, crafters, artists bringing Christmas to Kenai

File photo/Peninsula Clarion In this Nov. 26, 2011 file photo a truck from Alaska Engineered Truss and Urethane Services is led through the parade by lighted reindeer.

Santa Claus is giving his reindeer a break and catching a ride to the Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center today with the Kenai Fire Department.

He is celebrating Christmas Comes to Kenai with an 11 a.m. stop at the visitor center to take photos with kids and enjoy some cookies and cocoa.

Johna Beech, Kenai Chamber of Commerce president, said between 300 and 500 kids stop by each year to sit on Santa’s lap for his first visit to Kenai.

While visiting Santa, people can also drop-off new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots. Beech said the chamber is also accepting canned and non-perishable food as well as new clothing to donate.

Kids can catch Jolly Old Saint Nick at Kenai Central High School during the Kenai Find Arts Guild Arts and Craft Fair as well. The fair begins today at 10 a.m. Shauna Thornton, Peninsula Art Guild, Kenai Fine Art Center board president, said Santa will be there from noon until 4p.m.

The fair runs today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., with vendors filling the gym, auditorium and hallways. Admission to the fair is free. Thornton said between the two days usually about 3,000 people attend each year. From pottery to glasswork to jam to honey, more than 150 vendors offer a variety of items handmade in Alaska.

“If you have those people on your list that have everything, (the fair is) the place to go,” Thornton said. “Because you can find something they don’t have and something totally unique.”

Many crafters and arts release their new pieces at the fair, Thornton said.

At 6 p.m. tonight the Electric Lights Parade begins at Spur View Road, travels down Frontage Road and ends at the visitor center parking lot.

Following the parade, Christmas lovers can enjoy more hot cocoa at the bonfire at the visitor’s center.

The fireworks display begins at 7:30 p.m. Beech said the Paradisos parking lot usually gets packed, so for those wanting to watch the fireworks from their cars, Beech recommended parking at Little Ski-Mo’s or First National Bank. KSRM radio stations will be playing music timed to the fireworks.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at


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