Santa always sets up shop at local malls, but St. Nick is making several other appearances this weekend. You can find him from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Central Plains Novelty, 905 W. Douglas during Christmas in Delano.
The big guy in the red suit also will drop by the holiday open house from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the Wichita Art Museum, 1400 W. Museum Blvd. Parents are invited to bring their cameras and take free family portraits with Santa.
1,000 floating lanterns
Last year, local river enthusiasts attempted a holiday boat parade on the Arkansas River downtown, only to move it to dry land due to lack of water.
This year there’s water in the river, but the group came up with something simpler – 1,000 lighted colorful orbs that Wichitans can buy for $3 and toss into the river from the Lewis Street Bridge at 6 p.m. Saturday.
It’s part of “Lights on the River,” a free event that begins at 5 p.m. near Lewis Street and the river and includes fireworks, s’mores, food trucks and the Cessna Jazz Band on a floating stage. Organizers have installed portable heaters on the stage, but may have to move the event indoors to the Boathouse if it’s too cold for the musicians to play.
The event is put on by RiverCity WRAPS (Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy), a group that encourages Wichitans to take action to protect the river. Sponsors include the City of Wichita and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, with grants from the Environmental Protection Agency. The group plans to collect the orbs downstream and use them again next year.
Shopping, prizes and a parade
Derby is promoting a Shop Derby event from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, hoping that $600 in prizes will entice residents to spend money locally. Shoppers who visit eight of the 13 participating stores will be eligible to enter a drawing for gift cards from merchants.
In addition, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. the Woodlawn United Methodist Church, 431 S. Woodlawn, is hosting a Winterfest Arts and Crafts Bazaar and from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., the St. Mary Catholic Church and School, 2300 E. Meadowlark Rd., is displaying a collection of 400 nativities.
The Derby parade begins at 6 p.m. at the Derby Middle School football field parking lot, 801 E. Madison Ave. The parade will head west to Georgie Street, south to Market Street and then circle back to the middle school. While you are waiting for the parade to begin, check out the free musical performances at 5:15 p.m. at the corner of Madison and Derby Streets.
Several holiday shopping events will be staged around Wichita this weekend. One is the Shop Till You Drop to Find a Cure event at Beech Activity Center, 9710 E. Central, which lasts from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free, and the event will feature makeup, cleaning supplies, health and wellness items, crafts, clothing and more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. There’s also the ICT Winter Bazaar, which is from 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Century II, featuring handmade items from local vendors. Food trucks will be present, and the event also will feature live music. Admission is free.