May 26, 2018

Santa Night to raise money for local charities on Friday

Santa's elves, including Kate Martin of Williston (center), entertained the crowd at Mexicale Grill & Cantina in Williston during last year's Santa Night fundraiser. (Observer courtesy photo)

Santa’s elves, including Kate Martin of Williston (center), entertained the crowd at Mexicale Grill & Cantina in Williston during last year’s Santa Night fundraiser. (Observer courtesy photo)

Williston’s Golden Huggs Dog Rescue and Vermont Respite House among beneficiaries

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Observer staff

December 12th, 2013

Santa Night Burlington will celebrate its 15th year of “raising good cheer and funds for local charities” this Friday, including three “sleigh” stops in Williston.

Event organizers have recruited more than 40 Santa’s helpers—men and women from the area who are asked to raise at least $150 each before the event. “This event is just like a walk-a-thon,” said event co-founder Dean Ferrara in a press release. “Each person raises a minimum amount to participate. Then instead of walking, we sing carols at local restaurants and collect additional donations from diners.”

Jill Allaire of Richmond has participated in the event for the past four years. “I so enjoy being able to help those that need a little extra and even though my singing could stop a truck—no one cares how you sing… it’s all about being together—enjoying the evening and raising monies for so many LOCAL charities,” Allaire wrote in an email to the Observer.

Santa Night volunteers will gather at Sneakers in Winooski to change into Santa and elf costumes, then board a bus—“Santa’s sleigh”—to ride to local restaurants.

“Ten restaurants are participating in this year’s Santa Night,” said co-organizer Andrew Allen in the release. “Many patrons are surprised when a busload of Santas and elves arrive led by a bagpiper, yet with our 15 year history, many of our friends and followers station themselves to see us and contribute to the causes we support.”

Since Santa Night Burlington began in 1998, more than $250,000 has been raised for local charities that include The Vermont Respite House and Golden Huggs in Williston, as well as many others.

Sleigh stops in Williston on Friday will include Mexicali Grill & Cantina, McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House and The Vermont Respite House.

In an email to the Observer, Kate Martin of Williston shared her excitement about participating in the event. “Being part of Santa Night is one of the highlights of my holiday season,” she wrote. “It brings together so many aspects of the holiday spirit: being around great people, the music, Santa and the Elves, helping those less fortunate. I particularly like that every dollar we raise stays in Vermont and is used to help local families and organizations.”

Followers are encouraged to follow the Santa night pages on Facebook ( and Twitter (@SantaNightBTV and hashtag #santanight) for updates on Santa’s helpers’ travels.

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