OGDEN — Hey, don’t blame Craig Bielik for this year’s Christmas Village theme. It wasn’t his idea.
Instead, it was local folks on Facebook who suggested possible themes and eventually voted for this year’s winner, according to Bielik, a member of Ogden’s Christmas Village committee.
And the 2019 Christmas Village winning theme?
“Are You ‘Yeti’ for Christmas?”
Somewhere, a pun angel just lost its wings.
Bielik said the vote came down to two finalists — the “Yeti” theme and “Light It Up.” He says “Yeti” won handily.
“Fifty-eight percent of people voted for ‘Are You “Yeti” for Christmas,’” Bielik said. “And to be honest, I wasn’t that fond of it at first. But we took it to our artists, they came up with visuals and sweatshirts, and I started to like it. I like it a lot, now.”
Bielik said there’s even a rumor going around that an actual yeti will be in attendance at the holiday lighting ceremony on Saturday evening.
“In fact, there’s a distinct rumor that the yeti will throw the switch to light the lights — along with Santa Claus and our Make-a-Wish child,” Bielik said.
Ogden’s 2019 Christmas Village display kicks off on Saturday with an evening of holiday fun.
It all begins with the original Utah Santa Run at 4:30 p.m., beginning at 22nd Street and Washington Boulevard. Runners dress like Santa and race along Washington Boulevard in a professionally chip-timed event.
Registration is $37.50, and includes a Santa suit with hat, beard, jacket, pants and a belt. There are also milk-and-cookie aid stations, festive music and volunteer elves. Bielik said that a local company, Hustle & Heart Real Estate Group, will offer free hot chocolate and doughnuts — while they last — at the end of the run.
To register for the Santa Run, visit runsanta.com.
Following the Santa Run, at 5:30 p.m., the annual Electric Light Parade will be held. Lighted floats, performers and other festive entries will make their way along Washington Boulevard between 22nd and 26th streets, with Santa Claus being the final parade entry.
The Jolly Old Elf will then make his way to the Ogden Amphitheater for fireworks and to help flip the switch on the Christmas Village light display at about 6:30 p.m.
The light display will then be open from 5 p.m. to midnight every day through Jan. 1.
All events are free to watch.
Throughout the month of December, a number of activities will be offered in and around Christmas Village.
Santa will be available for visits each evening — except Sundays — until Dec. 23.
“He gets kind of busy on the 24th, so he won’t be there that evening,” Bielik said.
A mini Polar Express train will offer rides from 6-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and an hour’s worth of entertainment will take the amphitheater stage at 6:30 p.m. those same evenings.
Mrs. Claus will offer tours for preschool children from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Call 801-629-8714 to reserve a tour.
Also, two of Santa’s reindeer will be on display from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20-21.
“I don’t know which reindeer it’ll be,” Bielik said, “but I’m gunning for Dasher and Dancer.”
Ogden’s Christmas Village features 63 cottages, decorated by local organizations and businesses, and some 750,000 lights. New this year is a Habitat for Humanity cottage.
And in keeping with this year’s theme, a small yeti will be hidden in each cottage, offering children an opportunity to play a sort of “I Spy” game, according to Bielik.
This year’s honorary mayor for Christmas Village is Ernie Terrazas, who worked for the city for 38 years.
“He was our go-to guy for Christmas Village — his team built a lot of the cottages, and they put up all those lights,” Bielik said. “He retired last year.”
Bielik said Christmas Village is a longstanding tradition that has created countless memories for residents of Northern Utah.
“I realize that a lot of people have deep, sentimental ties to Christmas Village, and we couldn’t do it all without the support of the community and sponsors,” Bielik said. “I’ve now been to Christmas Village with my parents as a child, with my wife — that was one of our first dates — with my children, and now with my grandchildren. It’s important people realize what a jewel we have in Ogden’s Christmas Village.”