Hesston ushering in holiday season with sleigh photo op

By Jackie Nelson

HESSTON—The Hesston Chamber of Commerce is bringing a bit of joy to residents this holiday season with a special photo opportunity with a traditional sleigh on Dec. 5.

Chamber Director Megan Smith said the sleigh is an opportunity for residents to get into the holiday spirit in conjunction with other community happenings.

“We want to build on our holiday tree lighting event from 2019 and elevate shopping local over the holidays. We also want to promote the Luminary Walk at Dyck Arboretum along with other holiday activities in the community. We felt like adding Santa’s sleigh—and fun opportunities surrounding the sleigh—would be unique and draw folks from the area to Hesston,” she said.

The sleigh will be available Dec. 5, with a photographer taking photos for families from 4 to 5 p.m. near City Hall and the downtown Christmas Tree.

Smith said the sleigh will be put into storage after the public unveiling and photo opportunities, “so we can maintain the quality.”

Smith said initially the city purchasing a sleigh “was a little bit out in left field.”

However, with help from the chamber board and local business and private donors, “I am both amazed and grateful at how quickly we were able to pull it all together and make it happen,” she said.

With the city’s ownership of the sleigh, Smith said it will present opportunities for many years.

“This year, the sleigh will be out for photo opportunities and hopefully Santa socially distanced, as well. In future years, we plan to offer sleigh rides. The sleigh will likely be pulled by local equipment, too,” she said.

Smith said having such a unique item at the city’s disposal means she and other community leaders will be looking for opportunities to put it to good use.

“We also want to make sure we use the sleigh in as many capacities as we can,” she said. “I have some ideas of how we can incorporate it in different capacities and at different events […] stay tuned in the upcoming year.”