On Saturday morning, 9,712 Santas flooded the streets of Town Square in support of Opportunity Village, winning Las Vegas the “World Santa Challenge” title for the second year in a row at the eighth annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run.
“We are thrilled by this year’s turnout, as this was our biggest Great Santa Run yet,” Linda Smith, Associate Executive Director of Opportunity Village. “Our wonderful Opportunity Village clients are the reasons why we run, so it was incredible to have thousands of people come out to support them.”
With nearly 2,000 more participants than last year, a swarm of Santas met at Town Square, Las Vegas to enjoy pre-race festivities from some of the best entertainers on The Strip. The masked men of Jabbawockeez performed jaw-dropping holiday dance moves while Lorena Peril and the girls from FANTASY at Luxor delighted the crowd with a rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
Grand Marshal Terry Fator welcomed the runners along with Mayor Carolyn Goodman and the Chippendales. Guests looked up to the sky to find parachuting Santas coming in for a landing, followed by Jeff Leibow of JERSEY BOYS at Paris Las Vegas singing the National Anthem to commence the 5K run, which was followed soon after by the one-mile Kris Kringle Jingle walk.
After crossing the finish line, participants were greeted in the parking lot by some of Las Vegas’ favorite food trucks including Lola D’s, Fat Daddy’s Ice Cream & Treats, Great BAO, Chi Town Hustler and Sauced, as well as a performance from the cast of Legwarmers: The Musical – a new, 80s-themed show at Planet Hollywood. At the awards ceremony, The Venetian won for largest team with more than 750 members and Circle K Convenience Stores, a sponsor of the event, beat out the competition with most money raised.
With a significant lead, Las Vegas once again defeated its toughest “World Santa Challenge” competition from Liverpool. The “World Santa Challenge” was created by Santa Fun Run events in the United Kingdom to introduce an element of playful competition between Santa Runs across the globe.
The Las Vegas Great Santa Run serves as the largest annual fundraiser benefiting Opportunity Village, with thousands of participants flooding the streets for a 5K run and one-mile walk each year.