Weekend of activities planned in correlation with annual KAC holiday gift show
“Kenan Christmas Village” is once again planned in celebration of the 41st annual Kenan Arts Council holiday gift show on Nov. 19 and 20. A family-focused 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. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“This event was first created in 2021 and is designed to offer activities for children and their families to enjoy while they attend the annual holiday gift show,” Marketing Manager Rikki Cason-Weller said. “This year we expanded our activities, with the goal 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 into this part of the arena is included with the $5 price of the holiday gift show. Children ages 15 and under are admitted free.
The annex will be decorated with Santa’s workshop in mind, and house several activities throughout the two days.
“We are most excited about the gift station in Santa’s workshop,” Cason-Weller said. “In brainstorming ideas for this event, we reminisced about being children and getting the opportunity to buy gifts for our parents, either at school or in the mall, without them being able to see it. I remember going to the mall, my dad giving me $10 and going into Santa’s house to pick out a gift for my mom. The workers would then wrap it in a brown paper bag and ribbon, and it would stay a secret until I gave it to her on Christmas.”
Cason-Weller said organizers want to take that concept and add in the Kenan Center’s art focus, allowing for children to create a special craft for a loved one without their parent or guardian seeing them make it.
With the help of Kenan’s newly formed youth board, parents can drop their child off at the gift station, located at the back of the arena annex, for a 25-minute period. During that time, kids will get to make a special craft, decorate a gift bag and have it wrapped to give to their parent or family member for Christmas.
Parents or guardians will need to sign a form when dropping off their child in the annex, similarly to the process followed during the Kenan’s summer “Kids Quest” programming. During those 25 minutes, parents will have the opportunity to shop the gift show, alone, then return to pick up their child.
“This is a great opportunity for children to surprise their parents with a gift, but it also gives parents the chance to purchase an item for their kid from the gift show without them being there when they buy it,” Cason-Weller said.
Also in the annex, “Storytime with Santa” will take place at 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, “Storytime with the Holiday Book Fairy” will take place at 11:15 a.m., 1:15 and 3:15 p.m. During this time, children can gather around the Christmas tree to hear the holiday story, “The Night Before Christmas in New York.” Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Holiday Book Fairy will also be walking around the holiday gift show at various times throughout the two days.
Those stopping by the Kenan Center table can pick up a “Santa’s Elves Scavenger Hunt” for kids, which will take them around the Kenan campus looking for Santa’s lost helpers. Those returning – having found all the missing elves – will earn a prize. At that table, adults can enter to win tickets to upcoming Kenan events.
At the “Letters to Santa” table, kids can get a special letter to fill out to drop into the mailbox that will be in front of the Kenan House. This mailbox will once again be delivered from the North Pole by Santa’s helpers and will stay in front of the house until they pick it up on Dec. 18. Kids can drop off their Christmas letters to Santa during this time – and will even get a letter back from Santa in the North Pole, if they include their return address.
There will also be a photobooth set up in the annex where all KAC holiday gift show visitors can stop by and get their photo taken with fun backdrops, props and frame. Vendors in this area include Windsor Village and Lyncoln Bears and Buddies. A coloring station will also be set up.
“This year’s gift show has a more family-friendly feel to it, overall,” Cason-Weller said. “It will be great to see the entire family enjoying these two days on the Kenan Center campus.”
Dyan Mulvey Dance Academy performs in front of the Kenan House last year as part of its “Holiday Spectacular.” (Submitted photo)
Other happenings taking place as part of Kenan Christmas Village:
•Dyan Mulvey Dance Academy’s “Holiday Spectacular,” starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. Dancers will perform outside, in front of the Kenan House, dancing to a variety of holiday-inspired routines. During the performances, audiences can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, sold by members of the Kenan youth board, and there will be a 50/50 raffle.
•In “Daisy’s Adventure Garden,” families can walk around the storybook trail, reading the story, “I Saw Santa in New York.” A light display will also lead the way between the house and arena.
•The Bentley Snowflake Collection will be on display in the Kenan House Galley throughout the gift show. This exhibit is from Wilson A. Bentley, who developed both the techniques and the equipment to take photographs of individual snowflakes that had been captured in glass plates. A portion of this Buffalo Museum of Science collection is on loan to the Kenan Center and features an up-close look into how different and unique each snowflake truly is.
•Rounding out the weekend, the Buffalo Jazz Collective “Holiday Celebration” will take place in the Taylor Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday. The group will perform a variety of new and original arrangements to songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Christmas Time is Here.” 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 www.kenancenter.ticketleap.com.
For more information about all the holiday happenings happening around the Kenan Center, visit www.kenancenter.org.