“If you want to get in the Christmas spirit, spend a night in Santa’s workshop in downtown La Crosse,” said Robin Moses, the executive director of Downtown Mainstreet La Crosse.
For the fourth year in a row, Santa’s workshop is open in La Crosse.
Located off Main Street, the workshop is a place to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus– for free.
All visitors are encouraged to bring their cameras and phones.
“They can take pictures of Mrs. Claus and I with their children, family pictures,” Santa Claus said.
There’s three different backgrounds kids can take pictures at– there’s the Christmas tree, Santa’s workbench and the new kitchen, which was added this year.
This year the workshop has moved to a bigger location, about four times the size of where they were last year.
“It’s free for the community to come and have a visit with Santa,” Moses said. “It’s also something that is not a rushed situation, they really spend a quality amount of time with each family.”
The workshop is open Wednesday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus estimate that they see hundreds of visitors each year, with waits sometimes reaching up to two hours.
However, at the workshop no one waits in line. Instead, they can color, watch a movie, or shop downtown until it’s their turn.
“It’s all about building new traditions in your hometown,” said Moses.
The event is a collaboration with Downtown Mainstreet and also sees contributions from Mayo Clinic and Fayze’s.
While families love to visit Santa, he says the experience is just as special for him.
“When you can see the magic on the faces of children from the vantage point we have here… that’s something you couldn’t buy with money,” said Santa.
The workshop is run entirely on donations and volunteers.