Santa’s Helper (and member of the Nelson Business Association) Chris Holland was on Baker Street Monday with a checklist in preparation for this Friday night’s Santa on Baker/Elf Walk event that takes place in the downtown core.

Elves join the holiday mix in Nelson’s downtown Christmas kick-off

Nelson’s traditional Santa on Baker celebration will go off with a twist this year.

Nelson’s traditional Santa on Baker celebration will go off with a twist this year as organizers invite the public to join the city’s First Annual Elf Walk.

Billed as an evening of “Santa, food, music and awesomeness,” the event will take place on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. on the 400 block of Baker Street.

Elf Walk is a mass gathering inspired by the flash mob movement, which involves people assembling in a designated area for a spontaneous act of performance art. Elf Walk participants are encouraged to dress and act as elves for the evening, which coincides with Santa’s visit to Baker Street where he will arrive on the Nelson Fire Department’s ladder truck. The big jolly fella will switch on the fabulous new Christmas lights.

“It’s going to be a truly magical event for the community this year,” said co-organizer Joy Barrett. “We’ll be handing out glowsticks to all the elves who appear, so get your elf hats ready!”

The event was born out of a series of meetings held by the group that initiated a campaign to step up Nelson’s holiday lighting plan for 2012. Organizers had originally asked for $30,000 to light up all of Baker Street, but scaled back plans when Nelson city council came forward with $10,000.

Event co-organizer Maureen Crawford said the addition of thousands of lights to the block will definitely up the festive feel of the area.

“We’ll be substantially increasing the number of lights on the two trees, and around Baker, which should create a striking effect,” she said.

Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m. to greet the elves and switch on the lights, then make his way to the Nelson Trading Company to meet the kids while grown-up elves enjoy some music while sipping hot chocolate courtesy of 103.5 The Bridge and cider from the Kootenay Co-op.

Part of the mix on the night will be a chili cook-off between six local businesses/organizations: Ric’s Lounge and Grill, Save-On Foods, Nelson Toyota, the Salvation Army, 103.5 The Bridge and the Nelson Star. People are invited to try samples of the chili for a donation to the Sally Ann kettle. The chilis will then be judged by a panel and a winner gets bragging rights.

This initiative is supported by the City of Nelson, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, the Nelson Star, 103.5 The Bridge and the Nelson Business Association.

For up-to-date information on the event and essential elf tips, check out the Elf Walk facebook page (


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