It will soon be time to put on a Christmas outfit, lace up walking or running shoes, and hit the streets to raise funds for school feeding programs.
Yes, the Santa Shuffle is fast approaching … and like last year it will be held virtually to avert the danger of a COVID-19 group super-spreader. Participants can do a 5-kilometre fun run or 1-kilometre Elf Walk at a time of their choosing over the December 4-5 weekend.
The event will tie in with the Maple Creek Chamber of Commerce’s “Cowtown Kick-Off to Christmas”, scheduled for December 4.
To add to the air of festivity, The Salvation Army will be serving hot chocolate and breakfast burritos from its Emergency Disaster Response Unit between 9am and 10.30am on Saturday. The vehicle will be outside The Salvation Army’s church on #203 Maple Street, or in the parking lot next to the planned new Thrift Store in Jasper Street (The old Shop Easy store).
Santa Claus will be present, and probably willing to pose for pictures. Majors Ed and Charlotte Dean, from The Salvation Army, will also be there, of course, dressed in Christmas attire.
Major Charlotte said the timing of the Santa Shuffle could not be better.
In the past, Cowtown Christmas has always been held on a Thursday. Switching it to Saturday, meant people could enjoy a full day of fun.
“Santa Shufflers could have breakfast burritos and hot chocolate in the morning, either before or after their run, then head off to the Cowtown Kick-Off to Christmas,” she said. “It’s kind of neat, especially for those who live out of town and want to come in one day. It’s really exciting that these activities are happening at the same time.”
Major Charlotte said The Salvation Army’s partners, The Running Room, had requested that the Santa Shuffle not be held as a group event this year because of continuing concern about COVID-19. The goal, however, will still be to have fun.
“People are encouraged to come out in their costumes,” said Major Charlotte.
Every participant, she added, has a chance of getting a Santa Shuffle shirt – a much-prized possession at last year’s event.
“This year, the really cool thing is this: when you register online, not only do you get a medal, you also get a shirt – it’s included in the registration fee. But it will only be given to participants while supplies last. So, if you decide you are going to be a Santa Shuffler and you wait too long, and your size of shirt is gone, it’s gone. I can’t do anything about that.
“We do, however, have a number of shirts coming in and it’s while supplies last.”
Online registration (santashuffle.ca), whether as an individual, team or organization, can be done right up until the day of the Santa Shuffle. However, those wanting a shirt are advised to register as early as possible.
“The early bird gets the shirt,” said Major Charlotte. “If you wait and register at the last moment, it’s possible that you won’t get a shirt, or not in your size. We want to be sure you get what you are hoping for.
“A number of people have already registered, although I’m not sure how many. If you pay for a shirt online on top of your registration, you are going to end up with two shirts.
“You automatically get one just for registering. That’s probably the way to go. Then, if you do want more shirts at the end, you might want to come and check with us, we might have some for sale, we might some extras. They are nice, athletic material. They are a nice shirt. They are the same material that last year’s were. Last year people really liked them.”
According to the santashuffle.ca site, pricing until Friday, December 3, is as follows:
Children (Under 12), $20; Individual, $35; Family (Maximum 6), $160; and Group (Max 10), $230.
Major Charlotte said she would gladly help people register.
“If you struggle with doing things online you can come and see me in the office and I can print you off a paper form or will help you get registered online.
“The main thing is to dress up and have a great day. Why not leave on your Christmas clothes for the afternoon? It would be fun to be Christmassy all day long. We are excited about this year’s event. It should be really good.”