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Santa has been Spotted in Kalamazoo – 2018

No question about it, Santa loves kids. 

He’s excited to pop in and out of Southwest Michigan all season long. He gave us his schedule and has planned stops for picture-taking, cookie eating, train riding, and parade waving. Not to mention, Mrs. Claus and the reindeer will be in attendance at a number of special events.

Some outings you will only catch a glimpse of Santa, which is perfect for those kids who may be a bit nervous to meet him up close. Other events will allow for one-on-one time with Jolly Ol’ St. Nick for the kids to share their Christmas list wishes, and capture picture-perfect memories.

Make a list – and check it twice – as there are many opportunities for the family to enjoy this special part of the holiday season. As Santa lets us know more of his schedule, make sure to check back for updates.

Some events require advanced registration. Verify details with the event organizer before you head out. Occasionally, Santa needs to head back to his workshop unexpectedly. 

Catch a Glimpse (Parades and Tree Lightings)

Kalamazoo’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony | Bronson Park, Downtown Kalamazoo | November 23

Santa will help the leaders of Kalamazoo light Kalamazoo’s Christmas trees, read, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and kick off Kalamazoo’s Holiday Season.

Hometown Christmas Parade | M-89, Downtown Otsego | December 1

Santa will be a part of the Hometown Christmas parade in downtown Otsego. Numerous activities pre and post parade, including visits with Santa.

Paw Paw Children’s Christmas Parade | 110 Harry Bush Blvd, Paw Paw | December 1

Santa Claus arrives and greets all children at the end of the parade. Refreshments and crafts for children are available along with horse and wagon rides.

Plainwell Holiday Parade | 115 W. Bridge St, Plainwell | December 1

Ring in the Christmas season with the parade from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Santa will be in the parade and will be at Design Street afterward to meet with children.

Saugatuck Holiday Parade | Water Street, Downtown Saugatuck | December 1

Catch Santa in Saugatuck’s holiday parade where participants can dress as their favorite Whoville character.

Winter Wonderland | Galesburg | December 5

Parade kicks off at 6:00 PM. Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with fireworks following the parade.

Christmas in the Village Parade | Vicksburg | December 8

See Santa in the annual Vicksburg Christmas parade. Santa will be at the old Hills building after the parade until 8:30 PM for visits with kids. Come to Vicksburg for the parade and stay for entertainment, wagon rides, and a reindeer petting zoo.

29th Annual Christmas Walk | Downtown Schoolcraft | December 8 

Spot Santa in the Annual Christmas Walk beginning at 10:00 AM.

Drop-In Pictures


Santa Saturday & Holiday Open House | VerHage Fruit Farms & Cider Mill, 8619 West ML Ave, Kalamazoo | November 24

Drop in from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM for free refreshments and to visit and take a free selfie with Santa and his helpers.

Santa Photos and Gift Shopping | The Beauty Bar, Schoolcraft | December 8

Reflections Modern Photography is offering photos with Santa from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, following the annual Christmas Walk (fee).

Multiple Days

Santa’s Workshop – Downtown Kalamazoo | 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo | Thursday-Sunday

Kids can visit Santa’s Workshop and write a letter, make a treat, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus amidst twinkling lights and animated elves.

Crossroads Mall 6650 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage | Daily

Visit Santa at the mal – reserve your time online to skip the line. Reservations and photo purchases are not required to visit Santa.

Santa’s House | Downtown St. Joseph | Weekends

Picture perfect holiday fun is available weekends in December in downtown St. Joseph. Santa’s house is free and is located on the corner of State and Pleasant Streets.


Gull Meadow Farms Santa | Gull Meadow Farms, 8544 Gull Road, Richland | Weekends

Meet and greet with Santa this holiday season. FREE visiting hours are Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Follow the Gull Meadow Farms Facebook page for updates.

Christmas Traditions on the Farm | 1701 N 33rd St, Galesburg | Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2

Come out and make some new family traditions on the farm. Hangout with Santa while you enjoy warm drinks & donuts. Purchase a package ahead of time which includes family photos with Santa, a Christmas tree, and a handmade wreath.

2018 Merry Mile | 720 Fair Street, Calhoun County Fairgrounds, Marshall | December 1, 15, 22

Santa will be available from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM for visits in the Floral Hall.

Battle Creek Winter Festival of Lights | Festival Market Square, 25 McCamly St S, Battle Creek | Saturdays

Kids Zone has free visits with Santa, holiday arts and crafts, games, music, and stage entertainment inside a heated tent.

Santa and Reindeer

Portage Traditional Holiday and Tree Lighting Celebration | Celery Flats, Portage | Dec. 1

Caroling as you walk to Celery Flats, where there will be ice sculptures, bonfires, refreshments, and live music. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive in a horse-drawn wagon and pictures are available in the Hayloft Theatre. Santa’s reindeer will also be in attendance.

Santa & His Reindeer Visit Station 66 | Station 66, 4588 D Dr. S, Battle Creek | December 2

Meet Santa and his live reindeer while picking out the perfect Christmas tree. Enjoy hot cocoa while browsing for unique Michigan made items.

Meet Santa and the Reindeer | Willard Library, 7 W. Van Buren St, Battle Creek | December 3

Families will be able to pet live reindeer from Reindeer Ranch and take photos. After, families are invited inside the library to visit with Santa Claus.

Reindeer and Santa Visit | Otsego District Library, Otsego | December 8

Santa is bringing his reindeer from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Visit with Santa, pet live reindeer, and make a holiday craft. Free popcorn, hot chocolate, and donut holes.

Holiday Open House | Comstock Township Library, 6130 King Highway, Comstock | December 8

Enjoy holiday cookies, hot chocolate, a performance by the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s String Quartet, meet Mrs. Claus, make a children’s craft, play children’s games, and see live reindeer.

Santa & His Reindeer | Horrocks Farm Market, Battle Creek | December 16

See the reindeer up close and tell Santa everything on your Christmas list.

Reindeer Ranch Tours | Reindeer Ranch, 2921 N. 6th St, Kalamazoo | Select Weekends

Reindeer Ranch now offers booked tours with Santa on select weekends. Tour includes a seasonal drink, cookie, a holiday craft, learning about and pictures with the reindeer, and a visit with Santa.

Dining with Santa

Breakfast with Santa | Cornwell’s Turkeyville, Battle Creek | December 1

Enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM.

Breakfast with Santa | The Elks, 113 S. Farmer St., Otsego | December 1

Kick off the Hometown Christmas Festival in downtown Otsego with breakfast with Santa.

Sippin’ with Santa | Round Barn Winery, 10983 Hills Road, Baroda | December 1

Donate a new, unwrapped toy (or $5 suggested donation) per child and enjoy fun crafts, cookie decorating, face painting and a visit with the big man in red.

Cookies with Mrs. Claus | 4-H Camp Kidwell, Bloomindgale | December 1 

Mrs. Claus will be decorating cookies with the kids (10:00 AM – 3:00 PM) and Santa will be ready to take your Christmas list and snap a picture. Special visit by Moment of Magic WMU princess. General admission is free, food available for purchase.

Breakfast with SANTA | Soil Friends Farm + Market, Galesburg | December 8 and 9

Come have breakfast with Santa on the farm. Pancakes, sausage, orange juice, and coffee will be served. Two time frames: 8:00 AM – 9:30 AM, and 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM. Tickets can be purchased at the door or FaceBook shop, though pre-purchased tickets are recommended.

Cookies with Santa | Paw Paw Playhouse, 404 E. Michigan, Paw Paw | December 22

Enjoy a warm cup of cocoa, decorate a Gingerbread cookie and get your photo with Santa in the theater. $10 admission per person includes a cookie, cup of cocoa and photos with the Big Guy.

Special Events with Santa

One Day Only

Holiday in the Park | Dykman Park (behind the Pavilion), Downtown South Haven | November 23

From 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM, kids can visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and some of the South Haven elves.

Glenn Circle of Lights | Glenn Square/Glenn United Methodist Church, South Haven | November 23

From 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at Glenn Square for the annual tree lighting, and then visit with kids and participate in a free gingerbread house raffle.

Holiday Workshop | VBDL Antwerp Sunshine Branch Library, Mattawan | November 24

Kids can make-and-take four different holiday ornaments. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at noon.

Hometown Christmas Visits with Santa | Chamber Office, Otsego | December 1

From 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM and 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM, visit with Santa in the Chamber Office during the Hometown Christmas Festival in downtown Otsego.

Meet Santa | Willard Library, 7 W. Van Buren St., Battle Creek | December 2

Santa will be visiting and children may stop in, say hello, share their wish lists, and get their photos taken with Santa.

Story Time with Santa | Pathfinder Church, 8740 S. Westnedge, Portage | December 8

Spend the morning with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Kids have the opportunity to visit with Santa, take pictures and other activities.

Candy Cane Hunt | Homer Stryker Field, 251 Mills Street, Kalamazoo | December 8

Candy Canes, Crafts, and Santa – join the Parks and Recreation Department for the 13th annual Candy Cane Hunt on Homer Stryker Field. Seasonally themed crafts, food and drink, and drawings for gifts for families with children 8 and under.

20th Annual Reindog Parade | Downtown St. Joseph | December 8

The Annual Reindog Holiday Parade features dressed up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. The event also marks the arrival of Santa – who will then be available for wish list conversations and photos. Free.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town | Little Sprout Children’s Boutique, 3009 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo | December 8

Refreshments, store specials, and, of course, Santa. Feel free to bring a camera, or the staff can snap a photo.

Of Christmas Past | Historic Charlton Park, 2545 S. Charlton Park Rd., Hastings | December 8-9 

Historic Charlton Park’s turn-of-the-century village is the setting for Of Christmas Past. From 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, tour the village and enjoy Christmas at Historic Charlton Park. St. Nicholas will be stopping by both days.

Santa Skate | Millenium Park Ice Rink, 280 Romence Road, Portage | December 15

Join Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick on the ice for an afternoon of skating with holiday music.

Ballpark Holiday Fest | Kalamazoo Growlers, 251 Mills Street, Kalamazoo | December 21

Santa plans to make an appearance at the first annual Ballpark Holiday Fest hosted by the Kalamazoo Growlers. Activities run from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM and include the movie “Elf” on the video board, games & inflatables, snow-themed events (weather permitting) photos with Santa and Porter Santa (team mascot) and much more.

Santa Soars into Sky Zone | Sky Zone, 5103 Portage Road, Kalamazoo | December 22

Attend a special meet and greet with Santa from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM.

Multiple Days

Christmas Around Town | Downtown Three Rivers | November 23 – November 25 

Visit Santa, take a free wagon ride, holiday crafts for kids, and a craft show.

Santa’s Workshop | Wedels, 5020 Texas Drive, Kalamazoo | November 30 – December 1

Santa will be at Wedel’s with his elves and craft stations for kids to make Christmas gifts, ornaments and treats on Friday from 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM and Saturday from 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM. Bring a camera to take pics with Santa.

Binder Park Zoolights | Binder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek | Multiple 

Evenings under the lights at the Binder Park Zoo. FREE carousel rides, up-close animal meet and greets, special holiday activities, time with Santa and his animal friends, and story time with Mrs. Claus (Wild Africa will be closed).

Registration Only Santa Events

Gingerbread at the Union | Union Cabaret & Grille, 125 South Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo | Multiple Dates

Families will first build a gingerbread masterpiece followed by a visit from Santa.  A limited menu for an additional cost is available.

Lunch with Santa | WMU Fetzer Center, 2251 Business Court, Kalamazoo | December 2

From 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, WMU Fetzer Center is offering a special luncheon where families can dine and have one-on-one time with Santa.

Mrs. Claus Tea | Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners | December 2

Tea begins with Mrs. Claus welcoming the children to enjoy their lovely meal. Mrs. Claus will read stories, sing songs and pose for pictures with the children.  Event includes a tour of the manor house and time for shopping in their holiday market. 11:00 AM or 3:00 PM seatings.

Coopersville Santa Train | 311 Danforth Street, Coopersville | Weekends

Take a ride with the fun guy! Each of the vintage passenger cars has a special seat reserved just for the Big Guy and his friends. Elves will escort the children to sit with Santa, and all kids get a present. A story-telling Princess will read Christmas-themed books.

Little River Railroad | 29 W. Park Ave, Coldwater | December 1, 2, 8, and 9

Visit with Santa Claus on the train and enjoy holiday treats and a Christmas Tour of the depot.

Dinner with SantaBinder Park Zoo, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek | December 1, 8, 15

Special reserved dinner with Santa at the Binder Park Zoo, from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM during Zoo Lights event.

Other Santa Sighting event in the area we may have missed? Submit it to our Event Calendar here.

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