WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Santa Claus will visit the Williams Recreation Center this Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. to greet children of all ages and hand out goodie bags to all the good boys and girls.
Rose Newbold, recreation director at the Williams Rec Center, has dubbed the event "Santa's World of Wonders." Newbold and her staff spent about a week and a half around the Thanksgiving holiday completely decorating the inside and outside of the Rec Center for this special holiday-themed event.
Those who attend Santa's World of Wonders will find plenty of free refreshments as well as crafts, games and prizes. Members of the First Baptist Church will also be on hand giving away mittens, gloves and scarves to those in need.
"They [First Baptist Church] come every year with more and more stuff," said Newbold. "And they hand out all these great winter items to anyone who needs them. It's just really wonderful for them to do that."
Newbold said the Rec Center used to welcome Santa the same day as the Mountain Village Holiday Parade of Lights when the parade was held in December. Now that the parade is held Thanksgiving weekend, the Rec Center invites the community to its own special event.
"This actually works better for us and all our guests because they can come anytime within the four hours that Santa is here, instead of just a mass of people coming all at once right after the parade," Newbold said. "So it's not as crowded as it used to be either. People can come whenever they want, stay as long as they want, and leave whenever they want."
The Rec Center will close at 2 p.m. after Santa leaves. Newbold said she expects anywhere from 200-400 people to attend the four-hour event.
"It's just a day for families to come in, have a nice day, visit Santa, play some games, do some crafts, eat some goodies, and get some free mittens," said Newbold.
In other Rec Center news, Newbold moved theWednesday night basketball program to the Williams Elementary-Middle School (WEMS) gymnasium from 6-8 p.m. during school weeks. Wednesday night basketball is for high school age youth and adult family members.
The Friday night open gym program for eighth grade students and younger is at WEMS from 6-9 p.m. Friday night fun features dodgeball, basketball, volleyball and other sports and activities for Williams area youth.
Family game and craft night has not changed. The Rec Center is at 300 W. Railroad Ave. More information is available online at www.williamsaz.gov or by calling the Rec Center at (928) 635-1496.