Llama santa hat .jpeg

Many holiday events are on tap across the county, including Waconia's annual tree lighting ceremony (pictured). (Patriot file)

Santa Claus is coming to (many) towns throughout Carver County this holiday season! His first stop is Waconia on Friday, Nov. 26 for the annual Tree Lighting at the City Square Park Gazebo. Starting at 6 p.m., community members can sip hot cocoa by warm fires while caroling alongside holiday characters like Buddy the Elf, Papa Elf, The Grinch, and llama-reindeer. Aaron Olson will direct the Waconia High School and Faith Lutheran Church choirs as they lead the crowd in song. The evening will also feature a solo by Cindy Lou Who. To cap off the night, Santa is scheduled to arrive just in time to light up the park at 6:30PM. This is a free event, but the Women of Waconia encourage everyone to bring a new, unopened toy for the Waconia Toy Drive which goes through Nov. 29.

Waconia will also participate in Small Business Saturday with its Homespun Holiday event on Saturday, Nov. 27. The day kicks off with the annual Candy Cane Hunt in City Square Park where Santa and his elves will be hiding candy canes for kids to discover and enjoy. The event starts at 10 a.m., but event organizers advise families to arrive at 9:50 a.m. because the event goes quickly! Afterward, Santa will be at the Fire Station hearing wishes and taking photos from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Community members are asked to bring canned or dry items to donate to the Waconia United Food Shelf.

“Homespun Holiday is about spreading joy and experiencing Waconia’s charm and festivity of the season. Our small businesses need our continued support. Let’s keep the cheer here by shopping, dining, and supporting local,” said Christine Fenner, President of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce. Plenty of Waconia businesses will offer sales or special activities and there will be kettlecorn for sale from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the corner of Maple and Main (between the fire station and Waconia Brewing Company) for shoppers to enjoy.

In addition, Santa is slated to make appearances in Norwood Young America, Mayer and Watertown.

Norwood Young America’s Holiday Extravaganza is planned for Nov. 27 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Willkommen Park. There will be fun photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus, princesses and a red truck, as well as a fire, hot cocoa, and take home activities for kids.

The following week, families will have the opportunity to take pictures with Santa and to enjoy cookies and refreshments at the Mayer Fire Station on Friday, Dec. 3 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Watertown will celebrate the holidays with its own Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Center Park on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 4:30 p.m. There is going to be holiday music and Watertown Chamber of Commerce President Kyle Jarvis will give a holiday address and introduce the new City Administrator Jake Foster. Following this, Santa will take a tour around town on the fire truck before arriving at the park to hand out candy canes. “We are very excited to have some normalcy when it comes to kicking off the holiday season in Watertown,” said Jarvis. He noted that the Chamber is planning to stream the ceremony on Facebook Live as well for those who are unable to attend in person.

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