The little ones probably won’t even notice the arctic temperatures outside when Santa Claus and Christmas come to Kenai on Friday, and for grownups, the Chamber of Commerce director has promised it will be warm “at least 20 degrees.”
Santa will arrive by way of a Kenai fire truck at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center at 11:30 a.m., kicking off the chamber’s annual “Christmas Comes to Kenai” celebration.
“Our merry elves will be serving hot cocoa and cookies,” said Janie Odgers, chamber executive director.
Odgers said she is anxiously looking forward to seeing the bulging eyes of young and old alike as they take in the Electric Light Parade through town beginning at 6 p.m.
“This year’s Queen of Kenai, Anita Necessary, will ride in a dog sled pulled by (Iditarod musher) Mitch Seavey’s team,” she said.
Also promising to catch everyone’s eye, “The mayor will be lit up,” Odgers said.
After the parade, and before the fireworks show at 7:30 p.m., visitors are invited to warm up with a bowl of chili or borscht at the SOAR International Ministries hangar just south of the Kenai Municipal Airport terminal.
Hot cocoa and coffee also will be served at the hangar on Granite Point Court at Willow Street, where a country store will be set up and door prizes will be given. Prizes include a fishing trip on the Kenai River.
For folks who choose to wait at the visitors center for the fireworks show to begin, a huge bonfire next to the chamber’s cabin will add to the warmth of the season, Odgers said.
A number of Kenai merchants also will herald in the Christmas season with some freebies, discounts and other activities Friday and Saturday.
· Fireweed Herb Garden and Gifts on North Forest Drive will have free cookies on Friday and Saturday, and has scheduled a book signing from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday with the Grannie Annie cookbook series.
· Already Read Books at 506 Atla is offering Christmas books for $1 and hot drinks for $2 on Friday and Saturday.
· Bakers are invited to enter the Allen and Peterson bundt cake competition Saturday. Bundt cakes should be dropped off at the cooking and appliance store between 9 a.m. and noon for judging and sampling by the public. A free cooking class will be awarded to the winner at 4 p.m.
· Home Depot invites parents to bring their children to the Christmas Garden and Build project from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
· People can pop a balloon for savings at the Partyin’ Place on Atla Way on Saturday, and Santa’s helpers will assist people draw their own discount on holiday gift items at the visitors center.
· The annual Arts and Crafts Fair at Kenai Central High School will feature more than 150 booths from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.
Friday also marks the traditional kick-off for the Salvation Army bell ringers who will take their places at the entrances of large retail stores in the central Kenai Peninsula.
The Salvation Army angel tree will be set up at the Kenai Safeway store.
“All the hustle and bustle of the weekend should get the holiday season off to a joyful and prosperous start,” Odgers said.
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