Santa visits, tree lighting coming for the holidays in Menifee

Thanksgiving turkey dinners have hardly been digested, but the holidays have just begun in Menifee with the city already planning two Christmas season special events, starting with an early visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Dec. 9 annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Menifee Town Center.

“The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a Menifee tradition where residents can gather together to celebrate the holiday season, while also enjoying numerous vendors and activities for attendees of all ages,” Menifee Mayor Neil Winters said.

The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins 4 p.m., Dec. 9, in the Oak Tree Roundabout located at the corner of Town Center and Newport Road and concluding 8 p.m. There will be a kids’ snow zone with 40 tons of snow and jumpers, the elves crafts workshop, a Letters to Santa booth put on by the Menifee Valley Lions Club for children to write letters to Santa, visits and photos with Santa, free cookies provided by BJ’s Restaurant and local food, craft and business vendors. This year will also include myriad holiday performances with local groups.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to see Santa and Mrs. Claus make their grand entrance on a fire engine navigated by Cal Fire and escorted by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. Santa and Mrs. Claus will join the city council and other elected officials in lighting the tree and will pose for family photos after the tree lighting.

Additional photo opportunities include a large decorative picture frame for families to create a memory commemorating their time at the event.

The first 500 attendants will receive a commemorative city of Menifee ornament, as well as a cup of hot cocoa provided by the Menifee Valley Lions Club. The Christmas Tree Lighting is a free event, with the exception of a $5 wristband for unlimited access to the kids’ snow zone and jumpers.

The second event will be a return visit from Santa, Dec. 18-23. He will leave his sleigh to climb aboard a city vehicle and head out to have personalized interactive visits with families, organizations, parties, corporate events and more at a location of their choosing in the Santa on Wheels program. He has time for only 43 15-minute visits before he heads back to the North Pole with his reindeer team.

“We are thrilled to once again offer holiday cheer to our residents here in Menifee through the Santa on Wheels program,” Winter said.

The Santa on Wheels visit is limited to a maximum of 20 participant visits per stop, so each child has time with the Jolly Old Elf. The cost of each available time slot is $35 to offset the worldly gas costs. Slots are limited, and those interested need to make reservations as soon as possible. Reservations must be made at the Community Services Office at 2999 Evens Road in Menifee during regular business hours.

More information is available on both special events by contacting the Community Services Department Office at (951) 723-3880 or visit online at www.cityofmenifee.us.

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