BY GAYLE SIMONE , valley dispatch staff
METHUEN — The Kiwanis Club of Greater Lawrence, the Loop and Wal-Mart are teaming up for an event that includes the entire community — Santa Night, which kicks off at the Loop on Dec. 9 starting at 5 p.m.
“Santa’s Helpers” — consisting of 40 adults dressed in Santa and elves suits — will be caroling through the restaurants in the Loop as they pass around “Santa’s Sack” to raise money for the Greater Lawrence Boys and Girls Club’s Aquatic Safety program.
After caroling in the Loop, Santa’s Helpers will make their way to the courtyard in front of Loews Theater, where they hope to be greeted by hundreds of children. Wth their parents and grandparents, they will march through the Loop up to Wal-Mart, while either singing along with the adults or using the kazoo handed to them by the Loop General Manager Gayle Nigro.
Since Nigro will be handing out 500 kazoos, Jeffrey Shank, president of the Kiwanis Club, is hoping they will have that many kids joining them in the night’s activities.
Santa’s Helpers will be handing out song books to go along with the kazoos.
When the kids arrive at Wal-Mart, they will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with Christmas characters Frosty the Snowman or the Grinch. For a donation of $5 — of which $4 goes straight to Santa Night — the kids can walk away with their photo in a holiday frame.
Donna Quintal, Community Involvement coordinator for Wal-Mart, is excited about the Santa Night association with the Kiwanis Club and the Loop.
“The reason Wal-Mart got involved in this event is to reach out to the community,” Quintal said.
Santa Night is a one-night international fund-raising trademark event that started in Burlington, Vt., in 1998. Each participating community holds a Santa Night on the second Friday of December.
Participating “rooftops” include these establishments:
* Methuen: Fridays, Bugaboo Creek, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Texas Roadhouse Café, Terra Marra and the Outback Steak House;
* Lawrence: The Claddagh Pub;
* Andover: Park St. Pub, Ninety Nine, Mango Grille and Palmers;
* North Andover: China Blossom, Joe Fish Seafood Restaurant, The Loft Restaurant and Orzo.
Santa Night Web site: www.santanight.com/lawrencema/