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Being Santa

Disclaimer: To preserve the Christmas magic, we recommend small children do not watch this story.

Ask 7-year-old Trey Hernandez what he wants for Christmas this year and he’ll say a skateboard. Neveah Stanford, age 6, wants an American Girl doll. Seven-year-old Blare Woods and his sister Tessah, 4, want jet packs. But these children are going above their parents, to the ultimate Christmas wish-giver: Santa.

“Santa” Glenn Unzicker, from Sun Prairie, Wis., has been playing the role since 2001. He was initially approached during his family vacation by a hotel employee asking if he would be willing to play Santa. Unzicker initially declined, but later changed his mind.

In 2003, Unzicker graduated from the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School in Midland, Mich. There he learned how to care for his hair and beard, how to sit a child on Santa’s knee, and how to talk with older and younger children, as well as those with special needs.

Flower biz freshens up downtown Sun Prairie

Flower biz freshens up downtown Sun Prairie

Prairie Flowers moved to a new location in March

"If you don’t use it, you lose it."

It’s a truism for small businesses on Main Streets around the country according to Dina Pocernich, owner of Prairie Flowers and Gifts in downtown Sun Prairie. She believes that communities' economic vitality is affected by where people choose to spend their money.

"We’re losing small businesses simply because they’re not being used. It takes making a choice, a choice to say, 'I’m going downtown to shop. If I want our economy to be vibrant, I need to be aware of that.'"

Fortunately for her, it seems that many people in her community understand that concept: a recent move to downtown Sun Prairie has strengthened business, Pocernich said.

“I’m proud we’re here and thriving,” she said. “People tell us we freshen up the downtown -- they’re thrilled and we’re thrilled.”

Volunteers bring interactive spin to nativity

Volunteers bring interactive spin to nativity

Church production transforms building into ancient marketplace

More than 140 cast members and volunteers will participate in an interactive, live-action production called "Journey to Bethlehem" Saturday and Sunday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Sun Prairie.

Production organizers said the church will be transformed into a live set to replicate a marketplace in the ancient city of Bethlehem.

The cast will be outfitted in period costumes as shopkeepers, townsfolk and Roman soldiers. Audience members, surrounded by a set that includes live animals, are guided along a walking tour through the narrow streets of the Bethlehem will experience the sights, sounds and smells reminiscent of the ancient city. The characters will interact with visitors.

Grammy winner collaborating with UW Wind Ensemble for free concert

Grammy winner collaborating with UW Wind Ensemble for free concert

The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music will welcome a three-time Grammy award-winning composer on Nov. 30, when the university premieres two of the artist's new pieces.

The UW Wind Ensemble will perform two of Michael Daugherty’s new works: “Bells for Stowkowski” and “Motown Metal.”

The free performance begins at 8 p.m. in Mills Hall at 455 N. Park St. A pre-concert discussion with Daughterty begins at 7:15 p.m.

Daugherty is collaborating with the university in a special program that brings in accomplished contemporary composers to work directly with the musicians of the UW Wind Ensemble and student composers.

The Sun Prairie High School Wind Ensemble will join the UW group for the evening with a performance conducted by Steve Sveum.

Sun Prairie parade-goers get free wagon rides, visit with Santa

Sun Prairie parade-goers get free wagon rides, visit with Santa

City business district hosts parade and tree lighting Friday

A holiday tree lighting and parade will start the holiday season in Sun Prairie Friday.

The annual Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting and Fire Truck Parade -- supported by the Sun Prairie Business Improvement District -- will begin in front of the Sun Prairie Historical Museum at 115 E. Main St. at 5 p.m.

Prior to the parade, the Sun Prairie Historical Museum will be hosting a Christmas walk and free horse-drawn wagon rides from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Riders will board in front of the museum.

Museum volunteers will serve cookies and hot apple cider leading up to the tree lighting ceremony, which will include an appearance from Santa Claus.

Activities include holiday music from the Sun Prairie City Band, carols from the Sun Prairie City Choir, a Fusion Dance Company performance, the Fire Truck Parade and the Tree Lighting Ceremony with Santa.

Royal Oaks kids donate 60 care packages for troops

Royal Oaks kids donate 60 care packages for troops

In a ceremony Friday morning, third graders at Royal Oaks Elementary School donated care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas to a group of volunteer military supporters. Nearly 60 third graders contributed to the project, and along with a local company’s volunteer crew, they were able to create 60 care packages for soldiers.

Royal Oaks Principal James Ackley said the care package project taught kids to express gratitude to the troops overseas for the sacrifices they make as U.S. soldiers.

“I am very proud of our third graders for enthusiastically stepping forward and embracing this project to help our troops serving so far away from their families,” Ackley said in a news release.

Beer and wine event benefits local non-profit organization

Beer and wine event benefits local non-profit organization

A beer and wine tasting event will benefit the Colonial Club.

The second annual event, called the ColoniALE Fest, will be held on Nov. 2 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 301 Blankenheim Lane.

"We anticipate having 26 breweries and two different beer selections from each brewery,"said Bob Power, Colonial Club's Executive Director.  An additional 14 wine samples, food for purchase and raffles will be available, said a press release.

Tickets are available online here, by calling the Colonial Club at 837-4611, or in person at Fuzzy’s Liquors and at Cannery Wine & Spirits.  Tickets cost $25.

The Colonial Club is a non-profit senior center serving older adults and their families in Dane County, said a press release.