As the holiday season begins, the area's children once again will get an early visit from Santa Claus during the sixth annual Children's Christmas Spectacular at the Community Arts Center at 2 p.m. Dec. 9.
The event offers area families holiday-themed entertainment, which includes a movie, magician and music, as well as receive a special surprise from Kris Kringle himself.
Skip Hunsinger, organizer, said he remembered having an event like it when he was a child and wanted to bring it back.
When he approached Rob Steele, executive director of the CAC, Steele was onboard with the idea.
"The idea to resurrect the Christmas Spectacular was born from within the ranks of the volunteers. Skip Hunsinger and Frank Missigman approached me during one of our events with the idea several years ago and I said, 'Yes,' immediately," Steele said.
Hunsinger said most of the $15,000 it requires to put the event on each year comes from community donations and from raffles he holds at the CAC.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Sixth annual Children's Christmas Spectacular
WHEN: 2 p.m., Dec. 9
WHERE: Community Arts Center, 244 W. Fourth St.
"All of the money - every penny - goes toward the kids," Hunsinger said.
Steele gave full credit for the event to the many volunteers that work every year to put it on.
"The Community Arts Center Volunteer Corps is comprised of over 200 of the most giving, wonderful people imaginable," Steele said. "We play host to over 100 events every year where our beloved volunteers are called into action and they always rise to the occasion. (The volunteers) provide a warm and welcoming environment for all of our guests and the shows simply could not go on without them."
Besides a movie, musical selections and a magician, Steele said "weather permitting," Santa will make an appearance.
"Santa Claus always makes it a point to visit with the children at the spectacular," he said.
But it's not only Santa's visit that Steele enjoys every year, it's seeing the children's faces as old St. Nick gives them some surprises.
"I have to say that my favorite moment in the Christmas Spectacular every year is the big reveal. When the curtain goes up and there are over 1,000 brightly colored bags with presents in them for the children," Steele said. "The gasp from the audience sends chills up your spine."
Hunsinger agreed with Steele and said if it's their first time coming to the event, that someone should "expect to see a lot of kids, a lot of smiling faces."
Tickets already are available to the event at the box office, for which there is no admission fee.
"Through the tireless efforts of our terrific volunteers, the spectacular seems to get better and bigger every year, and there has never been any cost to the attendees for the event," Steele said.
Hunsinger added that with so much support from area residents, the show truly is a community event.
"A big thank you to all those people that help us out along the way. Its very nice that people are able to give to things like this; not everyone can do that," he said. "You should wake up everyday and see what you can do for someone else."