There has never been a better time to visit Great Bend, Kansas than during the winter holiday season. The city is all decked out in lights and holiday finery.
There are even presents for everyone in the form of an abundance of free and low cost family friendly activities that are sure to put a twinkle in even scrooge’s eye.
Santas around the World
Loretta Miller’s artistic creations are notorious for bringing out the child in even the most world worn adults.
Representing 23 countries in all, Miller’s intricate and life sized Santas from around the world are available for public view 4 days a week from November 26th until December 30th.
The celebrated display is open Thursday through Friday from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm, Saturdays from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.
As of 2010 admission to “Santas around the World” is $1.00 per adult and free for children under the age of 6. There are also special group discounts.
Santas from Iceland, Russia, Switzerland, Scotland, China, Norway, Brazil, Africa, Latin America, Australia, Poland, Mongolia, Middle East, France, Lapland, Korea, Italy, Germany, Ireland and England are just some of the countries represented.
Visitors can download a brochure from the “Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau” that details the various customs and lore surrounding each country’s Santas. Families who view download the brochure and view the Santas can then add to their children’s appreciation of other cultures by adding in activities of their own.
Some suggested activities are incorporating cultural heritage related coloring pages, arts and crafts pages, ethnic music and ethnic meals into the family’s holiday routine. Many free coloring pages, craft ideas, music files and ethnic recipes are readily available online.
Santas around the World
2332 Kansas Street
Great Bend, KS 67530
Trail of Lights
In addition to the “Santas around the World”, there are several different free, drive-thru holiday light displays. The light displays include but are not limited to; “Veteran’s Park Lights at the Lake”, “Wild Lights at Brit Spaugh Park”, “Lafayette Lights at the mall on Jack Kilby Square” and the “Barton County Historical Village Lights.”
Displays range from motion lights that feature a hopping kangaroo, elves throwing snowballs and Santa riding a Buffalo to more stationary, traditional ones like arches adorned in snowflake shaped lights.
The “Trail of Lights” is available for viewing each evening from dusk until dawn. The lights go on November 28th and remain up through December 30th.
A map detailing where all the free light displays are located is available for download on the”Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau” website.
Life size Santas and lighted displays are not the only winter activities available in Great Bend. There is free ice skating at the courthouse downtown, Christmas craft fairs and free programs at the Barton Community College 66 seat Planetarium.
Those travelers that are going to be in the Great Bend Kansas area this winter and want to learn more about the city’s free and low-cost holiday happenings should log onto the “Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau” website.