Even though it’s been more than 20 years since Joyce Kiryk took her nephew to Santa’s Workshop in B.C., he still remembers it to this day.
Her nephew’s fond memories inspired Kiryk, who invited Santa Claus to set up an overflow workshop at her photography studio on Main Street.
The studio has been transformed into one of Santa’s workshops, mostly due to the hard work of Bob Clutterbuck, who, according to Kiryk, has been working non-stop.
Santa’s workshop and Children’s Christmas Market will be open on Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. Local businesses and individuals both have donated items to stock the workshop so children can come in – without their parents – and buy presents for mom and dad. When they leave, the presents are wrapped safe and secure from prying parental eyes.
Kiryk said her photography business, Memories for Eternity, has been involved in the Festival of Lights for years, specifically with children. With the fate of the Jewel Theatre in the air during the planning stages, and with the memory of her visit to Santa’s workshop with her nephew in mind, Kiryk embarked on creating the new event.
A quick letter to Santa Claus at the north pole got him on board, and he’s been bringing in presents to fill the tables along with members of the community.
“I had a casual conversation with a couple in the Dollar Store,” Kiryk said. “I mentioned what we were up to. They came back a few hours later with bags of things for the workshop. I don’t even know their name.”
All of the items at the workshop are brand new and donated or brought by Santa.
There will be hotdogs and hot chocolate for kids at the market, and Santa will be giving out cookies. Kiryk will be taking photos of children with Santa, but not the usual kid-on-Santa’s knee type of photos.
“It’s going to be a very casual picture,” she said.
Children will also have a chance to get their name off the naughty list, since Santa will bring it with him, Kiryk said.
Though the event is scheduled to run for two hours, so long as there are children wanting photos with Santa, and Santa can stay, they’ll keep the doors open. With Christmas being so close, though, Santa can’t stay too late before he has to return to the North Pole to oversee preparations for his Christmas night flight.