SAN BENITO — Local nonprofit groups are gearing up to create a festive holiday experience for children and families to celebrate Christmas and make new memories.

The Rotary Club of San Benito, along with its co-sponsor, the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, are hosting their first Christmas Village at the Park celebration on Sunday, Dec. 12.

The event will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at Centennial Park, located at 305 Doherty St. in San Benito.

Rotary President Dr. Olivia Rivas said Christmas Village at the Park is open to the public and will feature several activities specifically designed for children and the young at heart who are filled with Christmas magic.

“Our club likes to do things for children and this was an intent to do something for children and have festivities for them,” Rivas added. “There’s a lot of synergy from people offering to do one thing or another.”

Activities include — storytelling, speaking with the Grinch and more hands-on activities for children, such as cookie decorating and letters to Santa.

San Benito businesses are participating in the event by setting up tables with a variety of activities.

“For example, State Farm is giving little coupons for student performers to redeem a coke and chips at their booth,” Rivas explained. “Another vendor is doing cookie decorating for the kids and will be packaging them up for them.”

Rivas said local vendors will also be available to provide an opportunity for last minute Christmas shopping.

Additional highlights of the event include a performance stage for various school children who will be singing, dancing and providing musical renditions of various Christmas songs. Dr. Cash Elementary School, Veterans Memorial and other elementary schools will be participating.

Off stage performers include — roaming elves, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and other well-known characters. Rotary Club members will also be caroling both on and off stage.

Food trucks with funnel cakes, tacos, barbecue sandwiches and more will be on-site.

Rivas said another highlight of the event is the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus and the lighting of the Rotary Park Christmas Tree.

Rotary Club members say they hope to make Christmas Village at the Park an annual event.

“We’re very excited. A good majority of us watch the Hallmark Channel and thought it would be nice to create a Hallmark experience here,” Rivas said. “We’re hoping that next year we’ll be able to be much better at it or create a real little village setting.”