Santa Run and Holiday Festival returning to Downtown Flint - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Santa Run and Holiday Festival returning to Downtown Flint

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(11/27/12) - Thousands of Santas are ready to huff and puff, and "ho, ho, ho" their way through downtown Flint. It's all part of Saturday's third annual YMCA Santa Run, which begins at noon.

"It's going to be a sea of red felt. Everyone will have smiles on their faces. People deck out their costumes and bedazzle them, and decorate their strollers and pets. It's a blast," said YMCA Executive Director Janet Tweddle.

Everyone that pays the $30 registration fee gets a Santa suit. The 5k and one mile courses begin and end at the YMCA, and travel down Saginaw Street and through UM-Flint's campus.  Each year, the herd of Santas has continued to grow.

"The first year, we had 600. We doubled it last year. This year we're hoping to hit 2,000,"  Tweddle said.

Proceeds benefit the YMCA's Partners with Youth Campaign. Last year's race brought in $30,000.

"The money goes to our scholarship programs for everything we do here at the YMCA, memberships, programs, and Camp Copneconic. The overall goal of our campaign is $425,000," Tweddle said.

The Santa Run is just the beginning. It's only one part of a major downtown Holiday Festival happening Saturday afternoon.

"At one o'clock, the parade starts from the Durant Hotel and runs all the way down Saginaw Street. We'll have marching bands, floats and a lot of community involvement," said Flint Downtown Development Authority Director Gerard Burnash.

The festival also features a holiday shopping marketplace and the unveiling of a David Buick statue. It's part of a continuing effort to bring visitors downtown during the winter months.

"We're trying to share the energy that downtown has been producing the last couple of years.  It's getting bigger and better and every year we want to add to this and make it a premier event," Burnash said.

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