Operation Santa Carnival FAQ

We are excited to welcome all actively serving military members and families (including the Guard and Reserve) to our 2020 Operation Santa TRWMG Bridges Kids Club Joint Forces Military Family Carnival.

Please READ all information BEFORE registering - military service is verified by local branch installations.   

Q:  When & Where is the Event?

A:   December 12th Location will be given to all confirmed registrants only (McMurray Area.)   Families will be allowed to register for a specific 2 hour session to attend the event between 10am and 6pm - we will release instructions to register for time slots once the registration for the event has closed and we have a final count.  PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL TO ASK FOR A SPECIFIC TIME SLOT.  We just cannot accommodate individual time slot requests, it will be first come, first serve when time slot registration is opened.

Q:  Who is eligible to attend the Event?

A:   ALL actively serving military members and their immediate family, regardless of need.  This is NOT an event based on need, rank or pay scale,  this is an event to thank ALL military families for their service.  THIS IS FOR YOUR KIDS AND YOUR SPOUSE.  This is an extremely popular and well attended event.  All military service members signing up will be approved by local installations as actively serving.   This is a private event and we will do our best to accommodate recently retired service member families and will also allows certain Veteran families that are workng with our partner veteran service organizations.   Veteran and retired attendance are up to our discretion on a case by case basis.  ONLY children of service members are eligible to attend as well as 2 adults per family.  There is no execption to this rule, this is so we can accommodate all families who would like to attend.  Please do not list friends, nieces, nephews, girlfriend/boyfriend's children, etc.  ONLY LEGAL dependents of service members are eligible and this will be verified with family readiness offices at each local installation. 

Q:  What is the Covid-19 Plan?

All attendees will be required to electronically sign a Covid-19 Waiver at the time of registration online and then a hard copy must be signed at the time of check-in in person. 

All attendees will receive a temperature check at check-in.  Attendees with any symptoms of Covid-19 will not be permitted entry. 

All event stations will be sociallly distanced to meet state and local guidelines and volunteers will be limited to one family per station.

All attendees will be given hand sanitzer and masks to use during their time at the event and all stations will be santized between families. 

Character and Santa visits will be socially distanced. 

All state and federal guidlines will be adhered to by the event staff. 

Q:  Why is a gift list necessary by child?

A:   This is a very unique event where civilian volunteer children are paired with military children who are attending the event.   The civlian child earns the $ (up to $25) to purchase a gift from a military child's wishlist by doing extra chores at home or for family/neighbors.  They then pick out a gift, using the wish list as a guide and wrap the gift.    At the event when a military child visits santa and receives their gift, the civilian child "elf" who purchased the gift may be present to witness their gift being opened.  Gifts are purchased with a specific child in mind and it gives the civilian child a true understanding of the joy they are able to give to another person.  If you have attended our event in the past, you know how magical this experience is for both military and civilian families.   Please insure that wish list guidelines are followed when completing this section of registration. 

Q:  What are the restrictions for gift wish lists?

A:   Please remember that wishlists are to give your "elf" a guide to purchasing something your child will enjoy receiving, it is not meant to be a request for specific items. We ask that you please limit your requests to items valued under $25 Items listed that are valued at more then $25 will be completely removed and replaced with a similar category before being assigned to a volunteer for purchase.  For example, if "American Girl Doll" is listed, this will be replaced with "18" Doll."    The more general you can be the better.  Very specific items, catalog item & page numbers (yes this has actually happened) , etc will not be accepted and will be replaced with generic descriptions.  For example if  wish list says "Fisher Price Batman Blue Car, Target catalog page 12."   it will be replaced with "Batman".    

Gift Cards, Video Games, Clothing, Bikes and Larger Items like Sleds are not permitted.  Anthing that would be larger than a standard kitchen garbage bag is not realistic for us to manage. 

Please insure you are listing at least THREE options.  Listing only one thing really limits our abilites to provide gifts. 

Examples of perfect wishlists are:  "Likes Barbie Dolls, Puppies & Shopkins.  Loves Pink."      "Paw Patrol, Hot Wheels Cars and Batman."     General categories are the best for us to work with.  No gift card requests.  No clothing requests.  No electronic/ video game requests will be accepted. 

Q:  Do all children need to be present to receive gifts?

A:   YES.  All children must be present at the event to receive their gifts from Santa.  If children are not present you cannot take their gifts.  Again, there are civilian children present who have purchased the gifts for military children in attendance.   GIFTS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO LEAVE THE PREMISES UNOPENED OR IF CHILD IS NOT IN ATTENDANCE.  Please do not ask, as this rule will be strictly enforced.    Please do not sign up children that you know are not going to be present at the event and please do not sign up if you do not want your children to open gifts at the event.   This is NOT meant to provide gifts for Christmas morning. 

Q:  Do gifts have to be opened at the event?

A:   YES.  ALL GIFTS MUST BE OPENED AT THE EVENT.  Gifts given at the event are not meant to be saved for Christmas morning.  If you do not want your children to open their gifts at the event, please do not sign up to attend this event.  A very large part of this event is the experience and interaction of families with one another.  If you need assistance for Christmas morning gifts, please see your Family Readiness Officer, they are aware of our programs that can provide support for Christmas morning.   Please do NOT SIGN UP FOR OUR EVENT if you do not intend to allow your children to open ALL of their gifts at the event. 

Q:  Why is there a $5 charge per attendee?

A:   When we did not have a charge due at sign up for the event, we had many people sign up and then not show up the day of the event.  This left a lot of civilian children who worked to thoughtfully purchase and wrap gifts, with nobody to give them to and also resulted in a lot of $ wasted on food and prizes, etc. that were based on the number of people signed up to attend.  By collecting $5 per attendee, it has severely limited "no shows".  We promise you will receive tremendously more then your $5 admission fee in value.

Q:  What is included in the admission fee?

A:   The admission fee covers all food, activities, games, inflatables, crafts, caricatures, balloon artists, Princess/Star Wars character visits, Santa Visit & Photo, Gifts and more.  Everything inside the event space is covered in the $5 admission per person for the length of the 2 hour time session. 

Q:  What if I have more questions not answered here?

A:   Please email Kristi Hilbert at kristihilbert@heroessupportingheroes.org with any further questions or concerns. 


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