Only 27 shopping days until Christmas. Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like we were just finishing Halloween activities and, boom, we have Thanksgiving.
Even with the weather gradually getting colder, I still love this time of year. Everyone tries to stay on their best behavior because Santa may be watching. Everywhere you look, windows and doors sparkle with holiday decorations, and the streets are lined with colorful banners and illuminated snowflakes. These signs can only indicate one thing in Portage: It is time for the City Celebration of Christmas Parade and tree lighting Saturday at Gilbert Park.
But first up is the annual Toys for Tots celebration and toy drive at a new location this year. The toy drive will be at Willowcreek Middle School from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The Marine Corps sets up this annual drive each year to help those children who are less fortunate in Porter County. Those attending the event are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy to benefit children with toys for the holiday.
The Kiwanis Club of Portage and Schoop’s of Portage have again slated their chili luncheon fundraising event during the Toys for Tots event. The lunch includes chili, baked potatoes with all the trimmings, hot dogs and beverages — all for a dollar each. The money raised will be given to the Toys for Tots event. There will be several youth choirs and an orchestra serenading the sounds of the season for your entertainment. Free photos with Santa sponsored by Walgreen’s and free activities for the kiddies will be available.
Of course, we all know Christmas is always so much more special with children, and children are Kiwanis’ No. 1 priority. The chili luncheon helps raise funds for the Kiwanis Dictionary Project, which provides a personalized dictionary to every Portage Township Schools third-grader. This year the club has given out more than 600 dictionaries to the kids in Portage. So please patronize all our sponsors of the event, which are displayed on our festive place mat that day.
I know it gets busy this time of year, but please make time for this very worthwhile event and then head down Willowcreek for Portage’s celebration and Winter Wonderland. This is truly a labor of love and we’ve always tried to make sure the whole event is free and is a personal gift from our family to yours.
The good old-fashioned Christmas parade kicks off at 3 p.m. at Willowcreek Middle School. It heads to Gilbert Park to carry the Jolly Old Elf to get the job done.
Once we all arrive at Gilbert Park, we encourage everyone to enjoy the magical lighting of the Christmas tree. Some more entertainment and hot cocoa will be on tap with Santa.
This is a fantastic way to start the Christmas season with Santa and also enjoy the spirit of giving. As always, I pray for good weather and to see all your bright, shining faces.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.