MARTIN, Tenn. – More than 15,500 people attended the recent 29th annual Santa’s Village, held Dec. 12-15 at the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex at the University of Tennessee at Martin. The number surpassed the 2011 record-setting number of 15,365 by 415. The highest attendance numbers in the event’s history was 17,810 visitors in 2012.
Food donations totaled $47,766, and toy donations added up to $7,754, making the final donation total $55,520, $2,245 more than a year ago.
“This is my 25th year to work at Santa’s Village, and I believe this has been one of the best villages to date with the expanded forest. I truly appreciated the success of this year’s village. We were able to enjoy a holiday event and at the same time help those less fortunate,” said Kim Kirby, Martin Parks and Recreation Department program director.
Santa’s Village featured 26,000 square feet of lights, holiday displays and continuous entertainment. Admission was the donation of $5 of food items or toys.
Service agencies that will receive food and toys collected from Santa’s Village this year include: Chimes for Charity, We Care Ministries, NWTN Disaster Services, Santa’s Helpers, Healthy Start and the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council.
Co-sponsors for the event were the City of Martin and UT Martin. Additional sponsors of the event included: University Plaza, First State Bank, MTD Products, Tyson Foods, Savant Learning Systems, Volunteer Community Hospital and Frontier Communications. As part of the event each year, WCMT Radio sponsors a can caravan for canned food donations collected at schools.