Mount Snow hopes to set Santa record

Mount Snow will be jolly this weekend when as many as 500 men and women deck out in snowy white beards, black boots and red suits lined with white fuzz with the goal of breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for most Santa Claus impersonators in one place.

This will be the area’s second attempt to break the record currently held by Liverpool, England, with reportedly 3,400 Santas.

Last year, despite poor weather, 107 Santas showed up to be counted.

This won’t be the only group this weekend trying to break the record. A group in Ireland will try to gather 10,001 Santas on the Walls of Derry on Sunday.

Liverpool attempted to sustain its record, collecting a reported 6,000 Santas last weekend for the Liverpool Santa Dash.

The tough one to beat, though will be Las Vegas, which also held an event last weekend, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run, which reported 7,269 Santas.

Organizer Melissa Husby said the group would do it again next year, hopefully with even more Santas. While this number seems to be the highest yet, Husby said it could take at least six months to hear from Guinness.

Celebrate the Valley, Inc., the event organizers, aren’t expecting to meet these numbers quite yet, but plan to develop a solid base of Santas that come every year to build up to the numbers necessary to win the record.

“Liverpool took five years to get where they are,” marketing coordinator Celeste Dwyer said. “Can you imagine if we beat Liverpool? Little old Vermont? That’s our goal.”

The Santas who do participate will be responsible for putting presents under the trees of local needy families. The money raised from the event benefits the Holiday Giving Tree, which asks local churches and schools to nominate a family in need. More than 65 families this year will be gifted food, clothing and other gifts for the holiday. “The concept is to have something under the tree,” Dwyer said.

Last year the Santas event donated $1,000 to the cause. This year they are aiming to double that.

Another part of the strategy to win the record is by offering perks to participants, including a long list of events on the mountain and in the area all weekend.

Visitors can spend Saturday after the walk participating in a cookie tour, a scavenger hunt or an activity challenge.

As it goes without saying that Santas must feed their cookie craving, 10 local inns will host a cookie tour, where the Santas can go from inn to inn, sampling the homemade delicacies and admiring the holiday decorations.

For Santas looking to slim their figures, the Claus Cup Challenge lets them go to different real estate companies and choose a physical or mental challenge.

Local schoolchildren will also display their gingerbread house handiwork at an exhibit at Memorial Hall, asking visitors to vote for their favorite. The winning house will win the children a pizza party.

Anyone dressed as Santa (they stress that this means full garb) will get a $25 discount on a ski lift ticket and a voucher for $25 off at another time from the ski resort. Many local inns, restaurants and businesses in the Deerfield Valley will be giving discounts to registered Santas as well.

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