For the 15th year, Santa is coming to W. Franklin Street. The Grinch will be there, too, but he’s not trying to steal Christmas.
It’s all a part of the West Side Nut Club’s Santa Land. Kids can sit on Santa’s lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, get a free picture, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Held each year since 2000, Santa Land also features other costumed children’s TV characters and a giant Christmas tree.
The event started as a way for children from economically disadvantaged homes to enjoy Christmas at no cost, says Santa Land Chairman Jim Farney. Over the years, that’s evolved into an event for everyone.
“It provides an opportunity for people, especially those on the West Side, to have a convenient place to bring their kids to see Santa,” says Farney. “It’s all free. It is a service we put on at no charge. Anybody is invited.”
The Nut Club does accept donations at Santa Land, and those go toward a scholarship the club sponsors at University of Southern Indiana.
Santa Land runs for two weekends, Dec. 13-14 and Dec. 20-21, from 3 to 6 p.m. each day. It’s located on the Nut Club property at the corner of Franklin and 10th streets. The pictures are taken in a large tent, so Santa Land is held regardless of weather.
“We’ll keep doing it as long we see the desire and the need for it,” says Farney. “We believe it is a good cause.