Two area downtowns are expected to be especially jolly this weekend as revelers help make the holidays merry for families in need.
Saturday's SantaCon is a way for people 21 and older to spread Christmas cheer by dressing up in their best Santa, elf or holiday costume and visiting bars, restaurants and retail shops in downtown Bentonville and Rogers, said Sonja Scott, one of the event organizers.
The money raised during the event will help Sharing and Caring of Benton County.
This is the fifth year SantaCon will be held in Bentonville and the second in Rogers, Scott said. Scott expects between 1,200 to 1,500 people to attend between the two cities.
Participating establishments will have drink and/or food specials and sales only available to those who are decked out in holiday gear and have purchased tickets, which come with wristbands, according to event information posted online by Visit Bentonville.
Tickets can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/santacon-nwa-2023-tickets-741545290927 until 1 p.m. Saturday. Age verification will be done at participating establishments to ensure no one younger than purchases alcohol.
SantaCon is from 1 to 7 p.m., and wristbands will be picked up at registration, which runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at The Hub Bike Lounge at 410 S.W. A St., Suite 2, in Bentonville and Ozark Beer Co. at 109 N. Arkansas St. in Rogers. An after party will be held at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art starting at 7 p.m.
SantaCon is the busiest business day of the year at The Hub Bike Lounge, said bartender Sadie Bell, who has worked there since March 2021.
Tickets for the event cost $10 with 100% of the proceeds going to Sharing and Caring of Benton County.
The annual Sharing and Caring distribution day will be from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Benton County Fairgrounds. Those who attend need to use the fairgrounds entrance off Southwest Barron Road, said Alicia Bunn, Sharing and Caring business development manager.
Sharing and Caring's Christmas program helps brighten the holidays of local children by lending a helping hand to families in need. Through the help of sponsors, the program serves children by providing clothing, shoes, toys, a food box, essential household goods and special needs. New and expectant mothers also receive a box of essentials to give mom and baby a healthy start. Each child who is served through the program is shopped for individually, according to the Sharing and Caring website.
This year 1,100 families and 3,000 children will be helped, according to the organization. There are 65 corporate and community donors/partners, and there will be 1,074 volunteers who help make distribution day happen, Bunn said.