Las Vegas Great Santa Run kicks off holiday season

On Dec. 5, a sea of more than 9,000 Kris Kringle lookalikes joined local Las Vegas celebrities and Opportunity Village for the 11th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run to kick off the holiday season.

The Las Vegas community rallied together for the city’s merriest fun run, which included special appearances by Honorary Chair of the Santa Run Committee Wayne Newton; Jabbawockeez, winners of “America’s Best Dance Crew”; cast members of JERSEY BOYS Las Vegas; Vegas’ acclaimed male revue stars The Chippendales; Miss Nevada USA,Emelina Adams and Miss Teen Nevada USA, Carissa Morrow; Jaime Lynch and the girls of FANTASY; Senior Executive Vice President of Opportunity Village Linda Smith; Opportunity Village CEO Ed Guthrie; Mayor Carolyn Goodman and husband Oscar Goodman; and Congresswoman Dina Titus.

Donned in full Santa suits, 5K runners and Kris Kringle Jingle walkers were treated to an energetic performance by Las Vegas Strip headliners Jabbawockeez, along with a tribute to Elvis Presley’s greatest hits from Opportunity Village’s dance troupe the OV Elvi and percussion line, Roaring Thunder. Additionally, Travis Cloer, “Frankie Valli” in JERSEY BOYS at Paris Las Vegas, serenaded the crowd with a rendition of “Sleigh Ride,” and showgirl and entertainer Gabriella Versace from SEXXY got everyone in a jolly spirit with “Run Run Rudolph.”

Following a high-energy Zumba warm up, the cast of JERSEY BOYS Las Vegas, The Chippendales and the Spring Valley High School Marching Band led the crowd to the start line for the 5K and one-mile Kris Kringle Jingle walk. After a traditional countdown and confetti showers, thousands of Santas were off as they made their way through Downtown Las Vegas.

Celebrations commenced after the race as runners and walkers were given commemorative medals and participants gathered at Park on Fremont for post-race festivities. Additionally, Fremont Street Experience and SlotZilla, Downtown Las Vegas’ towering zipline attraction, donated 100 percent of proceeds from Saturday’s flights to Opportunity Village.

The Las Vegas Great Santa Run is Opportunity Village’s largest annual fundraiser and to date, has raised millions of dollars toward the charity’s support of nearly 3,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities in the Las Vegas Valley. For more information, visit www.LasVegasSantaRun.org.

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