The third annual Santa Cause Tree Festival, held during the 2018 holiday season, raised more than $110,500 for numerous local charities. Santa Cause is a super charity and for the tree festival, each of the charities it supports decorates a Christmas tree surrounded with prizes that attendees can win through raffles. All of the proceeds raised go to the charities. (Submitted photo)

Donations from Santa Cause’s annual festival distributed

The third annual Santa Cause Tree Festival took place during the 2018 holiday season and raised more than $110,500 for local charities.

Santa Cause is a super charity that supports existing charities in Walworth County, referred to as the ‘Charities of Christmas.’ Those charities consist of: Elkhorn Area Youth Center; Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County; Safe Families for Children Wisconsin; Norman Barr Camp; Water Safety Patrol; Agape Home and School; Circle of Friends; Dan Green’s Touch a Life, Heal a Heart, Inc.; Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Wisconsin; Open Arms Free Clinic, and; Tree House Child and Family Center.

However, this feel good story doesn’t end after the checks are presented. Now that the unofficial holiday is upon us, Santa Cause representatives offer a look back on how the past six months have aided some of the charities and their causes:

Big Brothers Big Sisters is using the funds from Santa Cause to start the development of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)/STEAM mentoring program for its youth. This program will be designed to work with middle and high school students and local companies, exploring the career opportunities in various fields. This is a program that will help the youth explore their options in their fields of interest;

Norman Barr Camp is using its Santa Cause donation to help them continue to repair the main building at the camp, which houses a Chapel, camp kitchen, dining room, recreation room, ice cream store and an office. “Our camp could not function without this over 100-year-old building and Santa Cause is making the repairs possible. We feel truly blessed to be included as one of the charities included,” a camp representative said.

Agape Home and School is using the Santa Cause money for scholarships so that no child is turned away because of financial need;

Elkhorn Area Youth Center representative said they are “so thankful for our partnership with Santa Cause! Without donations we couldn’t sustain our after-school program.” With the proceeds from the last Santa Cause season, the center is able to add an extra staff member and enhanced hours of programming for its students;

Water Safety Patrol used its donation to replenish and upgrade boating equipment and rescue supplies. The Patrol is made up of a fleet of six, fully equipped boats, manned by “highly qualified and well-trained” crewmembers. In 2020, the patrol will be celebrating its 100th anniversary of keeping Geneva Lake safe;

Dan Green’s Touch a Life, Heal a Heart, Inc. has humbly helped support the people of Walworth County via the local food pantries, Health and Human Services of Walworth County’s toy drive and organizations that help local veterans. This year, according to a representative, they are happy to also be able to support Open Arms Free Clinic.


How it works

The 2019 Santa Cause Tree Festival begins Nov. 22 and runs through Jan. 4. It’s held during the Santa Cruise at Gage Marine in Williams Bay.

Each charity creates a themed winter wonderland by first decorating a Christmas tree. Next, they surround their tree with an abundance of what are described as “marvelous” prizes, all based on their selected theme.

When visitors attend the “Tree Festival” they can purchase raffle tickets to enter into any of the Charities of Christmas raffle boxes. Attendees have a chance to win the grand prize and/or many other prizes (last year’s prizes included a trip to Hawaii, Florida, a moped, a large screen TV, and much more.)

One hundred percent of the Tree Festival proceeds go directly to the charities.

Santa Cause and the Charities of Christmas also host Freezin’ for a Reason, a fun filled day that includes winter watersports, food and beverage specials, raffles, and an auction. Freezin’ for a Reason is held in December.

For more information about Santa Cause and the Charities of Christmas, visit


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