It’s never too hot to have a line to Santa Claus, who has reported he is not chancing COVID this Christmas time.
The annual Opportunity Village Las Vegas Great Santa Run is going virtual for its 16th installment this December. You will not see the famous sea of Santas on Fremont Street, but the event remains the O.V.’s largest single-day fundraising event of the year. Rather than a costumed run and walk around downtown, participants are offered the chance to donate $30 at www.LVSantaRun.com and complete a 5K or 1-mile course of their choosing between Dec. 5-26.
The health risk of a mass gathering in Las Vegas in December proved too great for O.V. officials to stay with the traditional format.
“We don’t want to chance it, we don’t want to risk people getting sick,” Opportunity Village President and CEO Bob Brown said Monday afternoon. “That’s not what we’re about. We’re now laser-focused on this process.”
The organization is staying with plans for its annual Magical Forest holiday display and walking tour, and also HallOVeen attraction in October.
“We are watching the Magical Forest plans very closely,” Brown said. “If that, and HallOVeen, are not safe, we will have to look at making the decisions to shut them down, too.”
The virtual Great Santa Run will have a grand marshal, to be announced. Costumes, swag, a running bib and medal are available on the site. Registrants can sign up now and pick up the items beginning Nov. 30.
A total of 6,644 costumed walkers and runners from six countries and 43 states descended on Fremont Street last December. There is no long-term plan to move the event to a virtual format.
“There is nothing as good as a live event, the magic of that,” Brown said. “But we are excited about putting this on, making it an event that people can enjoy and use to support Opportunity Village.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.