Great holiday promo alert! Each year, Maine’s Sunday River Resort hosts a special “Santa Sunday” to kick off the festive season (and benefit a great cause). This year, it will be held on Sunday, December 11. The event draws hundreds of skiers and snowboarders, all dressed as, yep, you guessed it, old Saint Nick. It’s gimmicky, it’s fun and it has great staying power, since it started in 2000.
Sports Destination Management: Maine Sports Commission’s executive director, Sheila Brennan Nee, says that “Santa Sunday is much more than a festive gathering on Sunday River's trails. This event gives back to The River Fund Maine, a nonprofit creating educational programs using the region's recreational assets to benefit youth throughout the community. Registration opened on Giving Tuesday, November 19th - seems fitting!”
With that kind of an intro, we HAD to learn more. So how long has the Santa even been going on?
Luc Burns: Santa Sunday began in December of 2000, as a way to fundraise for local charities. It's since evolved, at one time benefiting the Bethel Rotary, before benefiting the River Fund Maine, who we currently support with the event.
SDM: How great! Any estimate of the number of people who generally take part in this?
Burns: Over 250 Santas will take to the slopes as part of this event.
SDM: What made you choose The River Fund Maine as a beneficiary?
Burns: The River Fund Maine is an organization that we are incredibly proud to be a supporter of. They have done, and continue to do, incredible things for our community with their focus on creating educational and recreational experiences that can truly change lives.
SDM: Do you see people of all ages taking part – or is it just adults who get to play Santa?
Burns: No, we see people of all ages participate in this wonderful event.
SDM: Which, of course, brings up the next question. Is it just male Santas or are there Mrs. Santas too?
Burns: Mrs. Claus definitely makes an appearance!
SDM: Has it grown over the years in terms of numbers of people participating?
Burns: This event gets a lot of interest, but we do cap the number of participants to make sure that it is a fun enjoyable experience for all involved.
SDM: Do you get a lot of attention as a result of hosting it?
Burns: Yes, this event is absolutely a favorite. It's quite the spectacle, it's an excellent way to get in the holiday spirit, and at the end of the day, it supports an excellent cause.