The ‘Kenan Christmas Village’ ushers in the holiday season

Madeline Herzog holds her 2021 Christmas letter, moments before dropping it in the “Letters to Santa” mailbox on her way to the North Pole. This special mailbox will be in front of Kenan House from November 19 to December 18. Santa will personally respond to each letter, if a return address is provided. (photo sent)

Mon November 14, 2022 2:15 PM

Weekend of activities planned in conjunction with the annual KAC Christmas Gift Fair

“Kenan Christmas Village” is again scheduled to celebrate the Kenan Arts Council’s 41st Annual Holiday Gift Show on November 19-20. A family-oriented event, “Kenan Christmas Village” will offer a variety of activities to kick off the holiday season. It will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“This event was first created in 2021 and is designed to provide activities for children and their families while they attend the annual Christmas Gift Fair,” said Rikki Cason-Weller, Chief Marketing Officer. “This year we have expanded our activities, with the aim of having something for every member of the family.”

Santa’s Workshop will be the focal point of “Kenan Christmas Village,” located in the Kenan Arena Annex. Admission to this part of the arena is included in the $5 price of the holiday giveaway show. Children 15 and under are admitted free.

The annex will be decorated with Santa’s workshop in mind and will house several activities throughout the two days.

“We are very excited about the Gift Station in Santa’s Workshop,” Cason-Weller said. “Thinking about ideas for this event, we remembered being kids and having the ability to buy presents for our parents, at school or at the mall, without them being able to see it. I remember going to the mall my dad gave me $10 and going to Santa’s to pick out a present for my mom the workers would then wrap it in a brown paper bag and a ribbon, and it was kept secret until I gave it to her at Christmas.

Cason-Weller said organizers wanted to take this concept and add an emphasis on Kenan Center art, allowing kids to create a special craft for a loved one without their parents or guardians seeing them doing it.

With the help of the newly formed Kenan Youth Council, parents can drop off their child at the Gift Station, located at the rear of the Arena Annex, for a 25-minute period. During this time, children can make a special craft, decorate a gift bag and wrap it to give to their parents or a family member for Christmas.

Parents or guardians will be required to sign a form when dropping their child off at the annex, similar to the process followed at Kenan’s “Kids Quest” summer lineup. During these 25 minutes, parents will have the opportunity to shop alone at the gift fair and then return to pick up their child.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids to surprise their parents with a gift, but it also gives parents the option of buying an item for their child in the Gift Lounge without them being there when they buy it. are buying,” Cason-Weller said.

Also in the appendix, “Story time with Santa Claus” will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Sunday, “Storytime with the Holiday Book Fairy” will take place at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. Meanwhile, kids can gather around the Christmas tree to hear the holiday story, “The Night Before Christmas in New York.” Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and the Holiday Book Fairy will also stroll around the Holiday Gift Show at various times throughout the two days.

Those who stop by the Kenan Center table can take part in a “Santa’s Elf Scavenger Hunt” for kids, which will take them around the Kenan campus in search of Santa’s lost helpers. Those who return – after finding all the missing elves – will win a prize. At this table, adults can enter to win tickets to upcoming Kenan events.

At the “Letters to Santa” table, children can get a special letter to fill out to drop in the mailbox that will be in front of the Kenan house. This mailbox will again be delivered from the North Pole by Santa’s helpers and will remain in front of the house until they collect it on December 18. Children can drop off their Christmas letters to Santa during this time – and will even receive a return letter from Santa at the North Pole, if they include their return address.

There will also be a photo booth set up in the annex where all visitors to the KAC Holiday Gift Lounge can stop and have their picture taken with fun backgrounds, props and setting. Vendors in this area include Windsor Village and Lyncoln Bears and Buddies. A coloring station will also be set up.

“This year’s gift fair has a more family-friendly feel, overall,” Cason-Weller said. “It will be great to see the whole family enjoying these two days on campus at Kenan Center.”

Last year, the Dyan Mulvey Dance Academy performed outside Kenan House as part of its “Holiday Spectacular”. (photo sent)


Other events taking place within the Kenan Christmas Village:

• “Holiday Spectacular” by the Dyan Mulvey Dance Academy, from 11 am on Saturday. Dancers will perform outside in front of the Kenan House, dancing to a variety of holiday-inspired routines. During the performances, the public will be able to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, sold by members of the Kenan Youth Council, and there will be a 50/50 raffle.

• In “Daisy’s Adventure Garden”, families can walk the storybook trail and read the story “I saw Santa Claus in New York”. A lighted display will also lead the way between the house and the arena.

• The Bentley Snowflake Collection will be on display in the Kenan House Galley throughout the Gift Fair. This exhibit is by Wilson A. Bentley, who developed both the techniques and the equipment for taking photographs of individual snowflakes that had been captured in glass plates. Part of this collection from the Buffalo Museum of Science is on loan to the Kenan Center and showcases the difference and uniqueness of each snowflake up close.

• Rounding out the weekend, the Buffalo Jazz Collective’s “Holiday Celebration” will take place at the Taylor Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday. The band will perform a variety of new and original arrangements on songs such as “Winter Wonderland”, “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Christmas Time is Here”. The musicians include Mark Filsinger on trumpet, Elliot Scozzaro on saxophone, Brendan Lanighan on trombone, Jared Tinkham on guitar, Joe Goehle on bass and John Bacon on drums. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for members and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased in advance at

For more information on all the holiday events happening around the Kenan Center, visit

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