Over 6,500 Participants Attend 15th Annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run







Sea of Santas flood Fremont Street to participate in OV’s largest single-day fundraiser

Santas gather on Fremont Street to take part in the 15th Anniversary Las Vegas Great Santa Run.
Photo Credit:
LaLa Photography



On Saturday, December 7, Opportunity Village hosted the 15TH annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run in Downtown Las Vegas and were able to gather 6,644 Santa participants from across the world, including 6 countries and 43 states.


All proceeds from the Las Vegas Great Santa Run will go towards the programs and services for adults with disabilities at Opportunity Village.


The race, presented by Circle K, kicked off at the Fremont Street Experience and featured numerous special guests, including 5K Grand Marshal A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces, 1-mile Marshals The Chippendales, Santa Claus, Mayor Carolyn Goodman, former Mayor Oscar Goodman, and the organization’s all-Elvis dance troupe – The OV Elvi.


“For 15 years, we’ve been honored to host the Great Santa Run in wonderful Downtown Las Vegas in support of adults with disabilities,” said Adam K. Joseph, Vice President of Philanthropy at Opportunity Village. “This truly could not be done without the Southern Nevada community. From our vendors to volunteers to long-time partners, we’re absolutely thrilled with the support and outcome.”


Additional pre-race entertainment was provided by Gabriella Versace of SEXXY: The Show, Zumba by Kat and Jjohn, a Fit4Mom workout to the late George Dare’s “Run Santa Run”, DJ Mikey P, DJ Jesse Estrada, and mascots from the Vegas Golden Nights, Las Vegas Aces and Las Vegas Aviators. The starting line stage and after-party entertainment stage were hosted by Mark Shunock of Monday’s Dark and featured an impressive line-up of entertainment including Empire Records, WOW! The Vegas Spectacular, Celestia, Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert, and Kung Pow (DJ).


All Las Vegas Great Santa Run participants received a five-piece Santa suit with their registration and a commemorative medal upon completion. Another highlight of the event was Mena Hawkins, an inspirational young woman with cerebral palsy, not only crossing the finish line, but also raising over $7,200 for Opportunity Village in her fundraising efforts.


More information on Mena Hawkins can be found HERE.

Grand Marshal, A’ja Wilson, of the Las Vegas Aces, joined here by mascot Buckets.
Photo Credit:
LaLa Photography

The procession to the starting line led by Grand Marshal A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces.
Photo Credit: LaLa Photography
Participants from Team Hoyt are the first group across the starting line. Photo Credit: LaLa Photography
Participants from Team Hoyt are the first group across the starting line.
Photo Credit: LaLa Photography

About Opportunity Village

Mission: Opportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization that serves people within our community with significant intellectual disabilities, to improve their lives and the lives of their families.


Seven families who were determined to give their children with disabilities the best lives possible founded Opportunity Village in 1954. Now, more than six decades later, Opportunity Village is one of the most recognized and respected organizations of its type in the United States.

Nevada’s largest employer of people with disabilities, Opportunity Village serves nearly 2,000 individuals annually, providing vocational training, employment, habilitation and social recreation programs and services that make their lives more purposeful and interesting.

Opportunity Village citizens – individuals who were previously considered unemployable – work at Opportunity Village’s Employment Resource Centers and in jobs throughout the community, collectively earning wages amounting to more than $3.7 million in 2016.  They are hardworking and diligent, proudly paying taxes and happily leading more fulfilling lives.

Primarily a self-funded organization, Opportunity Village generates the majority of its operational funding through its employment contracts and fundraising efforts such as the Magical Forest and Great Santa Run, saving Nevada taxpayers more than $37 million annually.