Children’s Holiday, North Campus’ free version of Santa’s Enchanted Forest for the community, will celebrate its 14th anniversary on Dec. 14.
Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the celebration, which will feature a 12-foot mountain of snow for sledding, dance performances, obstacle courses and a visit from the man himself—Santa Claus.
“Children’s Holiday at North was created in an effort to give back to our community,” said Jesenia Patino, assistant director of campus administration and co-chair of the Children’s Holiday committee. “I can think of no better way to encourage the spirit of giving during the holiday season than by coordinating this wonderful free family event.”
This year’s installment will commence with Santa Claus’ arrival at 10 a.m. and will run through 3 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will lead a holiday parade in a horse-drawn carriage alongside local high school and middle school marching bands, veterans, children, cartoon characters and employees of the College in floats. James Pierre, a producer for MDC-TV, will host the parade.
Attendees will also have an opportunity to take photos with Saint Nicholas and Mrs. Claus will read books to children with her elves.
Children are also encouraged to visit Santa’s Workshop, where they can write letters to Santa.
“It’s a lot of work in creating a Winter Wonderland, but it’s a small gift that we are happy to give back,” said Jacqueline Muni, chairperson of North Campus’ social sciences department and co-chair of the Children’s Holiday committee.
There will be several exhibits such as Elsie’s Greenshop, an interactive science workshop for children. Visitors can make slime, build molecule-inspired ornaments and try food made from liquid nitrogen.
Another favorite at the event is the Holidays Around the World tent, where attendees can learn about holiday traditions and customs from several countries. Every year, the Youth and Agriculture tent features a petting zoo, games and animal shows.
“It is great to see the families enjoying the activities in a safe and supportive atmosphere,” Patino said.
Several tents will focus on helping and enriching the community. The Scholastic Bookstore will offer several children and young adult books for sale, with the proceeds going to a school in the community. In addition, the Educational Pavilion will showcase more than 20 magnet programs from Miami-Dade County public high schools.
Children will also have the opportunity to compete at an interactive obstacle course that will test their speed, agility and endurance. Medals will be awarded to anyone that completes the course.
There will also be several live performances from a Polynesian dance group, hip-hop dance team and a holiday-theme ballet as well as others.
Several food vendors such as Kona Ice, Mr. Boneless and Alpine Ice will also participate.
Volunteers are encouraged to participate at any of the event’s areas and tents. They can register until Dec. 13 through North Campus’ Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy or at www.mdc.edu/north/childrensholiday/.
“One of the best things about Children’s Holiday is seeing the North Campus students, faculty and staff participating throughout the year to host and plan activities for the families that visit,” Muni said. “I am proud to be a part of this holiday tradition which brings so much joy to the local community.”