Santa Claus is planning a Christmas Eve drive around Penticton | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Santa Claus is planning a Christmas Eve drive around Penticton

Penticton's best known Santa is planning a Christmas Eve drive by on Dec. 24, 2020
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gary Haupt
December 24, 2020 - 2:00 PM

Santa Claus is doing something a little differently in Penticton this year.

He's sent word that Christmas spirit is at an all time low because everyone has to stay home, but his Nice list is overflowing because everyone is trying to help the best they can. 

So this year, Santa is going to take time out of his super busy schedule — on Christmas Eve — to wave hello to as many kids as he can. 

Below is a route map so your parents can figure out if Santa will be going past your street!

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Penticton’s well known Santa Claus, Gary Haupt, is making plans for a ‘drive around’ in the city on Christmas Eve.

Haupt says there’s “a sense of loss” out there as kids aren’t getting their photos taken with Santa this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I’ve been doing personalized videos, that’s gone really well, but that’s winding down, and Christmas Eve is the really big time. I thought, let’s do a drive around,” he said.

Haupt put the suggestion out on social media this morning and says the idea is “catching on.”

“I’m not surprised. There’s an overwhelming number of people who want to see Santa Claus,” he says.

He’s hoping to do the drive around from 3 until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.

“I can’t do all the required streets, but I’m going to do the best I can. I want to do some Facebook live streaming to add to the excitement. I’ll have a loudspeaker and I’ll do as much Santa Claus Facetime as I can,” Haupt says.

Haupt had hoped to make a couple of stops at the city's beaches, but COVID-19 restrictions prevent any gatherings or personal one-on-one stops.

Haupt has his route mapped out and available for viewing on his Santa 2020 Drive by Facebook page.

He’s broken his planned route into three zones, as follows:

  • zone 1 (west) bounded by Lakeshore Drive, Industrial Avenue and Main Street
  • zone 2 (east) bounded by Main Street and Industrial Avenue
  • zone 3 (south) south of Industrial Avenue.

Haupt is planning to spend about 45 minutes in each zone. There will be live updates on his Facebook page with information about upcoming stops as he moves along.

“If you’re in your car and see us, for goodness sake, honk,” Haupt says.

King’s Delivery Service in Penticton has offered a Jeep and a driver to take him around the city.

Haupt says he’s told the Penticton Fire Department and the RCMP what his plans are.

“People just want to see Santa Claus, and I can do that for a couple of hours,” he says.

Haupt made international headlines last Christmas when he was fired from Cherry Lane Mall in Penticton after posting ‘naughty’ photos of himself as Santa Claus tipping back a hip flask in one photo and with his hands on the shoulders of a female friend of his in another.

Haupt hopes to cover as many streets highlighted in red as he can.
Haupt hopes to cover as many streets highlighted in red as he can.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gary Haupt

Santa plans to spend roughly 45 minutes in each zone, east zone shown above.
Santa plans to spend roughly 45 minutes in each zone, east zone shown above.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gary Haupt

Haupt will be updating his Facebook page with information on his next location throughout the drive around, which runs from 3 until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Haupt will be updating his Facebook page with information on his next location throughout the drive around, which runs from 3 until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Gary Haupt

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to tips@infonews.ca and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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