BY KALISHA MENDONSA
The 19th annual Bentley Santa Claus Celebration is just around the corner, with residents of Bentley looking forward to their biggest community building event of the year.
The celebration takes place at the Bentley Agricultural (Ag) Centre Dec. 3rd from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with free admission and all ages are welcome. Donations are accepted upon entry.
Barb Carson, community services manager with the Town of Bentley, said the event is made to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and to bring people together over fun times and hot food.
“It’s an awesome event. It’s a true community celebration, it’s not just for the kids. There is no child required, but we ask people bring their inner child out to celebrate with us,” Carson said.
“We’re fortunate to have a ton of community partners to come out and make the day successful. We have various community organizations coming forward to build the event.
“Some organizations donate funds to the project, and some come as our ‘chefs’ – our pancake flippers – and even a day home organization who facilitates our stay-and-play groups – together they handle the crafts for kids.”
Carson said this event is looked forward to all year round and it serves as a demonstration of many organizations and businesses coming together to benefit children, families and individuals.
“The Bentley Museum does Letters for Santa for the local kids, who get responses from our own Santa Claus. We’ve got a local music teacher who takes her students up onto our stage to practice during the celebration and we’ve also got volunteers who come in to help with crafts and games,” Carson said.
Carson said that their beloved Mr. Claus (Hans Gelsing) has been the town’s Santa for 18 years and is still going strong with his love of bringing joy to the families at the celebration.
She added that each year, Gelsing also contributes $350 to purchase books that are given away to children as gifts.
“Two years ago I got a phone call from an organization who was sponsoring our community breakfast, and they told me this event was the most crucial community-building event in Bentley each year,” Carson said.
“Each year, hundreds of members from across our community come together for no other reason than to benefit children and families while kicking off our holiday season.”
After the Santa Claus celebration, citizens are invited to the Bentley Christmas Craft and Gift Sale which begins at 10 a.m. at the Bentley Community Hall.