ODESSA -- The West Texas North Pole Village welcomed community members Friday, while part of the village is receiving finishing touches.
The arena area is up and running, and Santa’s village is slated to open next weekend.
The founder of the event, Dr. Ann Wills, started it to benefit the non-profit she founded, Reindeer Magic Charities.
“Christmas is really a joyous time. And I remember as a child how magical it was. And I just want to be able to bring that to all children so that they can enjoy the magic of Christmas,” she said.
Inside the arena, the magic of Christmas is seen in the activities.
“A sledding hill, the reindeer, hot cocoa, carnival games. And then outside will be the village with Santa’s house, the workshop, the post office, and then we’re providing hayrides too,” she said.
And like many toys in Santa’s shop, the village is still under construction.
This year, the non-profit decided to set up the village at the Ector County Coliseum. Dr. Wills said this location was chosen this year because it’s easy to find, and has plenty of room for the activities.
“The elves are making the buildings so that the city codes are making them safe for the general public. And it’s been a little bit of a challenge for us, but the elves are going to meet that challenge,” she said.
The location needed things like exit signs in the village buildings and electrical work that meets city code. The village carpenters are working hard to open the village, because it’s not just the visitors who are impacted.
The village proceeds are given to Christmas With a Cop and The Ector County Child Welfare Board to give meals and presents to under-privileged children.
Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis serves on the welfare board, and saw how the proceeds from last year’s village impact children in the community.
“When you do something for people who really are in need, it just makes your heart feel good. There’s more children placed in Ector County than you can imagine. And some of them are in foster families, and sometimes they can’t afford all the needed items for the kids. So it’s a great help,” he said.
Children 12-years-old and younger are granted free admission to the West Texas North Pole Village. Adults pay around $20 for admission.
But since Santa’s village is under construction, adults will only pay around $10 plus tax for admission.
Tickets can be purchased on the West Texas North Pole Village website or at the arena gate.
The village is located at the Ector County Coliesum arena, and runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 23.