Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and City Council members will host the annual “A Night with Santa” event from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center, 225 W. Douglas. The event is free and open to the public. Donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted, benefiting the Kansas Food Bank.
The evening begins outdoors on Kennedy Plaza with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting. The Newman Troubadours choir and a children’s choir from Heartspring, Choral Sensations, will sing carols followed by a tree-lighting ceremony. Santa Claus will arrive on a fire truck, and a fireworks show will light the night sky above the Arkansas River.
Hosted by Wichita Park & Recreation, the indoor part of the event takes place inside Exhibition & Convention Hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event includes games, crafts and inflatables for children 12 & under. Participants may have a photo taken with Santa for only $5 or take free photos with their own cameras. Christmas trees and bicycles will be awarded starting at 8:20 p.m. The event will include street closures at the following locations and times:
• Douglas Street Bridge, McLean Boulevard to Water, at 2:00 p.m.;
• Douglas Avenue, Water Street to Main Street, at 5:30 p.m.;
• Waco Street, Douglas Avenue to First Street, at 5:30 p.m.;
• Century II Drive from Main St. to Douglas Avenue, at 5:30 p.m.;
• South Cancun Street, Century II Drive to west Tlalnepantla Drive, at 5:30 p.m.;
• North Civic Center Place, north side of Douglas Avenue, at 5:30 p.m.;
• Wichita Street, north side of Douglas Avenue, at 5:30 p.m.; and
• Water Street and Douglas Avenue intersection, at 5:30 p.m.
All streets will re-open no later than 7 p.m.