Santa Claus will arrive as he always does—by firetruck—Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Sportsmen's Park.

It is a long-standing holiday tradition in Sleepy Eye. The Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Christmas season with a visit from Santa Claus for the children of the community. This year, the tradition will be a new experience according to Chamber Executive Director Christina Andres.

“Sleepy Eye’s Holiday Lights in Motion is such a wonderful asset to the community,” said Andres. “It’s become a tourist attraction, as well as a much loved local attraction and we are moving the chamber’s entire Holiday Kickoff Celebration to the park this year.”

The chamber, several event sponsors, and the Holiday Lights in Motion committee, have collaborated to offer families a very special event on Saturday, Nov. 25, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., as they “Light the Night” at Sportsmen’s Park.

Santa Claus will arrive as he always does—by firetruck—at 5:30 p.m. and the Holiday Lights in Motion will come on at 6 p.m. Santa will be ensconced in a camper cabin to visit with kids and pose for a free photo. Children are encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy for Santa’s Closet, which benefits Sleepy Eye and area kids.

The night will include free carriage rides, sponsored by SouthPoint Financial Credit Union. Reservations for the rides are not being taken. Families will enjoy the lights, bonfire and refreshments will they wait their turn. Free food and beverages—s’mores, hot dogs, popcorn, cider and hot chocolate—will be offered, until it’s all gone, sponsored by Schutz Family Foods, Americana Community Bank and First Security Bank.

“A special feature of our “Light the Night” celebration is that no vehicles will be driving through the park,” said Andres. “This is a kid-friendly, walking only tour through the park to enjoy the wonderful spectacle of the Holiday Lights in Motion.” Parking will be available in designated areas in Sportsmen’s Park and the north lot at Divine Providence, with Sleepy Eye Police Department traffic control to safely walk across the highway to the park.

“We’re pretty excited for our first “Light the Night” Holiday Kickoff Celebration,” said Andres. “It will be a perfect close to Small Business Saturday in Sleepy Eye.”