Since COVID has made it less safe for kids to visit Santa, the jolly ol’ elf is coming to them.
On November 26, Santa and his elves will once again be visiting the homes of children in Elmira, as the Drive By Santa event rolls through town. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saint Nick and his elves will be seen lighting up the town, picking up letters to Santa and handing candy out. Created last year during the pandemic, the event gives parents and children a safe way to visit the man in red.
“We ran it last year and it was a great success. People really loved it and wanted it again this year,” said Tanya Rempel, organizer of the event for the Woolwich Community Lions Club. “This year, we’re doing four or five routes again, and trying to hit everybody that signs up; they send me their address and how many kids, they give a small donation and then we stop by their house.”
Last year the Drive By Santa event saw brought some Christmas joy to more than 400 kids in one day. After posting online about this year’s event, Rempel noted they had more than 150 signups in less than a day.
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“We just posted it a couple days ago, and I’ve had at least 15 emails already. We’re prepared for 600 but it might be a bit more. What was nice last year is we even got to see elderly or people that were stuck in their house. And it’s just nice to see smiles on their faces – it’s been a rough couple years.”
The deadline for parents to register is November 19. They can do so by emailing Rempel at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are asking for a $5 registration fee to help pay for the candy Santa will be giving out.
“We pretty much hit most of the town last year. We went to the address and dropped off candy and if we see other ones along the way, we handed out candy canes. We have Santa and his elves: the elves are going to be walking behind the vehicle with protective masks on, they’re going to pick up little kids’ letters to Santa. We’re going to take the Santa letters to the post office and make sure they get off to Santa – it’s really cute,” said Rempel.
“Last year, we had the fire department help out. They’ll be helping out again this year – that was a huge success last year with all the lights and sirens going around town. People heard the sirens and came running to the door.”
More information about the Drive By Santa event in Elmira can be found on the Woolwich Community Lions Club Facebook page.