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Livin' Local: Follow That Sleigh! Santa ‘Round the City

By Lisha Ross

You better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, and I needn’t to tell you why. We’ve got it on good authority that Santa Claus is comin’ to town, and Vegas is welcoming him in its own special way.  Time to revel in the soft, colorful glow of twinkling lights, cherry cheeks and smiles all around! Of course, there are the enchanting mainstays like Opportunity Village’s Magical Forest and the Festival of Lights at The Lakes, but there’s still plenty more that’ll put Vegas on Santa’s “nice” list. From friendly competition in neighborhood décor to immaculate lighting displays and joyous parades, our fair city is bustling with simple pleasures of the season.


Boulder City’s Finest

Santa makes a dam fine entrance on December 4th via Boulder City’s Electric Night Parade. Jingle Cat and all her friends will be there to welcome Old St. Nick starting at 4:30 p.m. as floats created by local businesses parade down Nevada Way to Fifth Street then to Avenue B. Before or after the parade, stop by St. Jude’s Ranch annual Night of Lights Open House from 4-9 p.m., featuring a silent auction, hay rides, photos with Santa, entertainment, arts and crafts, festive displays, games and activities for all ages.

On December 10th, prepare to be gingerly tickled at the 1st Annual Boulder City Gingerbread House Competition and Gift Show. Held at the  Boulder Creek Golf Club Pavilion from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., the day-long event is sure to illicit some oohs and aahs with food, music, Santa’s toy giveaway, a Christmas market and a gingerbread contest with a $500 grand prize. Sweetening up this confectionary delight, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Family Promise Las Vegas. Visit www.bouldercitychamberofcommerce.com for info.

Inside Tip: Mr. & Mrs. Claus and strolling carolers will be roaming through The Village at Lake Las Vegas every Saturday until Christmas from 2-5 p.m.

Holly Jolly Henderson

He’ll be comin’ around the mountain when he comes to Henderson’s annual Winterfest celebration. From December 9-11, Downtown Henderson will be illuminated by dazzling, oversized light displays of Santa’s limousine, snowflakes, and a dancing Elvis and snowman. Amidst this festive setting there will be a tree lighting ceremony with Mayor Hafen and Santa, the Henderson Symphony Orchestra’s Sounds of the Season concert, train and wagon rides, petting zoo, pony rides, a craft fair, gingerbread house displays, the Festival of Trees, A Charlie Brown Christmas production and, of course, the unforgettable annual parade. This year’s theme is Sunday funnies, promising a parade unlike any other, with Peanuts, Beatle Bailey, Popeye, Betty Boop, Batman, Spiderman and other comic faves marching to the beat of their own little drummer boys.

Inside Tip: Santa will be hangin’ out at the Galleria at Sunset until December 24th for photo opportunities with the kiddies. Call 434-0087 for hours.

Oh Little Town of the Square

Town Square’s Norman Rockwell style celebration is already well underway. A fantastically festooned, 40 foot Christmas tree, holiday music piping into the cobblestone streets, visits with Santa and Rockwell vignettes scattered throughout the property make this stop simply down-home divine. From now until December 31st, Town Square is making Santa feel right at home with nightly snowfall choreographed to holiday music. He’ll be sitting for photos in his temporary digs until December 24, and even inviting dogs and cats for treats and photo opps on Wednesdays through December 22.  Enjoy all that Town Square has to offer with a backdrop of musicality by local choirs and music groups from Las Vegas schools and community organizations performing each Wednesday evening. Visit www.townsquarelasvegas.com for details.

Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland


Santa’s helpers have been busy transforming the Western pioneer-themed Mystic Falls Park inside Sam’s Town into a winter wonderland the likes of which are unparalleled outside the North Pole. Upon entering, guests are greeted by festive garland streams, snow covered lampposts, more than 50 glimmering trees and a dazzling 30-foot Christmas tree. Nightly shows at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. bring surreal to real as three new polar bear scenes and a river scene with two fishing polar bears come to life in their snowy surroundings. Snow floats from the sky capping the waterfall and mountain range, while light images and shooting water dance to traditional holiday music. It’s a magical, animated wonderland for all to enjoy! For more information, visit www.samstownlv.com.

The Gift of Lights

You don’t want to miss what’s been named one of the top ten holiday events in all of North America by AOL/MSN and CitySearch.com. Having moved from Sunset Park, its home for the past 9 years, the Gift of Lights will celebrate their 10 year anniversary at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Over 400 animated and sparkling displays, festive arches and tunnels twinkle with millions of bright lights.  This year, all the displays have been refreshed with the latest generation in energy efficient LED lighting. Admission is just $15 per car, but guests can receive a $2 discount if they bring a gently used item to donate to Goodwill of Southern Nevada on select days. As a thank you to the Speedway for generously donating their facility, The Gift of Lights is donating $2 from every car that enters to the Las Vegas Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Keep checking on www.giftoflights.com for updates on special events, discounts, and maybe even sightings of Santa, Rudolph and Frosty.   

With kids in tow or with an arm curled around the one you love, all the holiday fun you can handle is out there for your pleasure! Just try and overdose on Christmas cheer. It’s impossible! I promise.

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