Fort Mojave Indian Tribe hosts Holly Jolly Christmas
BULLHEAD CITY — Santa came early to the Tri-state this year as families from the surrounding area gathered at the Mojave Crossing Event Center on Saturday.
This is the second straight year the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and the Avi Resort and Casino hosted the “Holly Jolly Christmas”-themed event.
The event contained an abundance of things for children and families to do, whether it be decorating holiday cookies, riding the Christmas carousel, eating hot dogs or, of course, taking pictures with Santa.
“We had such a tremendous response from last year with area children and families completely happy and enamored with Christmas spirit,” said Gentry Medrano, FMIT public relations director. “For that reason, we wanted to bring it back again.”
Last year the event had about 1,000 attendees, with this year aiming for a couple of thousand. Medrano said they had 4,000 hot dogs on hand just in case.
Mojave Crossing was decorated with Christmas trees, lights and balloons. A large slide took children and adults to the arena floor where Santa, food and live entertainment from Benny the Elf could be enjoyed.
This year they added Blitzen mechanical bull rides to give guests more options in the carnival ride department. There also were several rooms, which contained arts and crafts for families to create stockings for Santa or customize a teddy bear.
“A buddy of mine came last year and told me about it,” Chris Barker, a father of four, said. “It was more than what I thought it was going to be. Events like this are really important because there isn’t much else for kids to do.”
Shelia Anderson also brought her family to the event. She was glad an event like this takes place because it brings the neighboring communities together.
The Holly Jolly Christmas event takes a considerable amount of time and planning. FMIT members were setting up all week and it takes about 100 people to work an event this size.
“It’s thousands of hours by the time you add all the man-hours up,” said Kuris Shaul, director in marketing for the Avi and Mohave Crossings. “Each year we try to improve and it just gets better. We’re just glad we get to do it.”
This year the event had more marketing from radio, press releases and billboards. The effectiveness was evident as there was a line of 50 or more waiting for the doors to open at 1 p.m.
If you missed out on this year’s Holly Jolly Christmas event, don’t worry. The event most likely will return for a third year, according to Medrano.
“It’s just a great day to give back to the community,” said Timothy Williams, tribal chairman.
Williams said he would like to thank the tribe, Avi Resort and Casino, Mojave Proud Project and tribal council. He said without them the event would not be possible.