At Coca-Cola in Kelowna, Santa has traded in his sleigh for the holiday caravan, a truck and trailer covered in hundreds of Christmas lights that is visiting communities throughout the B.C. Interior.
Kendall Bell, general manager of Coca-Cola in the B.C. Interior, says his crew worked hard this week to make sure Santa's new wheels were ready to go in time for December.
“Since the mid-1990s on TV you’ve seen the Coca-Cola Caravan delivering hope and optimism for the festive season," said Bell.
“What we like to do is support our community as a local bottler, and really what we’re doing this year is we are supporting the food bank locally here in Kelowna and Kamloops. We are doing events throughout the entire Interior of BC to really drive home the happiness and excitement of Christmas, but also doing what we can to help families in need this time of year.”
The modern-day image of Santa was in large part shaped by Coca-Cola advertising dating back to the 1920s.
“Our Santa here is very special, he likes to take his time," Bell said. "He really takes his time out on the streets and he’ll stop anywhere he can if people are waving just for people to take a picture.
Accepting food and clothing donations, the company is encouraging residents to say hello and make a donation whenever they see Santa and the truck around town.
"We really just want to fill up all our boxes. We want to let people know in the community we’re here for them and maybe next year [we] make it even bigger. We have four stops this year and next year, who knows. It’s limitless with Santa and the magic Coca-Cola brings," said Bell.
You can expect to see the Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan around the region throughout December, including up at Big White on Dec. 2, the Kamloops Safeway on Dec. 6, the Kelowna Save-On on Cooper Road on Dec. 8, the Kelowna Mamas for Mamas on Dec. 13 and the Kelowna Walmart on Dec. 15.