When Main Street of Hope announced it would be hosting a Breakfast with Santa fundraiser at WILLow LeaVes of Hope on Small Business Saturday no one expected what would happen next.

The inaugural event, which will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday, sold out all 200 tickets in a matter of a few short days following Main Street’s announcement earlier last month and organizers were definitely surprised… sort of.

“With this event, the main thing for Main Street was to not only preserve our history but to help bring in revenue to town and this is bringing in 200 people to Hope,” says Matt Lee, executive director of Main Street of Hope. “So I feel like we are doing our part to give back and people are coming to be a part of it and I am really happy with that.”

When Lee came to the helm of Main Street of Hope as executive director earlier this year, he had his sights set on bringing more events, people and revenue to the community and this event serves as the first of many more of its kind to come, he says.

“That is one thing I think we have lacked in one way,” says Lee. “We do a lot of events for the older generation, which isn’t a bad thing, but we need to start including things that are for young kids, too.”

Vickie Tedder, co-owner of WILLow LeaVes of Hope, says this year is making up for lost time and, quite honestly, no one really knew what to expect with the event’s launch. Tedder adds that she is certainly excited about the event and despite the frazzles of getting all the details ironed out she says there is still some overwhelm, but in a good way.

“We had no idea for sure what the response would be,” Tedder says. “It probably sold out because last year kids didn’t get that interaction with Santa.

So it was something like, ‘Oh, my gosh this is close to home, let’s do this!’”

Hope’s holiday shopping season kicks off with the arrival of Santa with his elves and reindeer in tow shortly before the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast starts at 8 a.m.

Lee and his fellow band members from Night Owl Country Band will be helping the ladies at WILLow LeaVes serve food and make sure there’s plenty of holiday cheer.

“I am going to be Santa’s elf,” Lee adds with a chuckle. “I am so excited for that and I am really happy with the group we have working the event.”

In addition to the NOCB guys donning their elvin fashion, members of Kappa Kappa Sigma will be hard at work assisting in the kitchen that morning preparing the delicious breakfast, Lee says. Seven K Feather Farm, located in Taylorsville, sponsored, in-part along with the NOCB, the purchase of the meat that will be served that morning. Additional support for the event has also been offered in the way of sponsorship and time from other organizations and individuals’, including the Hope Community Church of God and Hope’s Town Manager Frank Owens, Lee adds.

“We had so many people talking about this event we figured we needed Santa to hang out all day,” Tedder says.

As the last of the pancakes are served that morning, the WILLow LeaVes staff will open their doors for what they hope will be a bluster of nonstop activity like in years’ past, Tedder says.

“Once we open the doors it is going to be that same craziness we had last year,” she says. “Santa will continue to stay with us for small business shopping Saturday. If you can’t come for the breakfast, don’t feel like you are going to miss Santa, you can still come to WILLow LeaVes and get a picture with him because he will be hanging out until 2 p.m.”

Lee and Tedder agree that events like this are what make the holiday season special, especially when it brings so much joy to the community.

Saturday’s breakfast is one that will certainly start a whole new holiday tradition on the Hope Town Square, they say
All proceeds from the breakfast that morning will benefit Main Street of Hope.

“It’s fun and I feel like this is truly a back to normal kind of thing and that is what everyone is striving for,” Tedder says. “We need to support Main Street so they can get other things done for our town. And the more events we do like that for Main Street we are going to have our town Square more alive and that is the whole goal. Keep the Square alive with whatever we are doing.”