If you were driving anywhere in Spring Hill Saturday afternoon, you might have happened upon a peculiar sight: nearly 20 bicyclists dressed as Santa Claus riding across the city.
No, it was not an elaborate Santa-related heist, but rather the second annual Spring Hill Santa Ride, a new tradition organized by The Well Outreach food pantry that it's owners are hoping to turn into a staple of Spring Hill.
The Well's executive director, Shelly Sassen, and her husband, Tim, started the new annual tradition last year. This year drew even more Santa riders than before.
Gathering at the Sassen residence, participants decorated their bicycles with antlers, wreaths, and any other holiday-themed decorations they could get their hands on.
"It's kind of a legacy event that Tim started in Chicago with his friends," Sassen told participants ahead of the ride. "When he moved down here, we just wanted to bring the spirit of hope and cheer to our city - thank you for bringing joy to others today."
Hitting the pavement around noon, the more than a dozen riders took to the streets heading west on Duplex Road.
Before heading north on Miles Johnson Parkway, riders make a quick stop at the Morning Pointe assisted living home to sing a few Christmas carols, singing such classics as "Jingle Bells," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town."
Departing northbound, riders then linked up with Main Street where the occasional supportive car honk could be heard. Riders made their final stop at Grecian Family Restaurant off of Main Street for a mid-ride lunch before ultimately heading back to the Sassen residence, thus, concluding the second annual Spring Hill Santa Ride.
The Well Outreach
Beginning as a local food pantry in a church in 2006, the Well Outreach turned into its own entity in 2009. It has been growing ever since, even expanding its reach outside of Spring Hill.
To offer a monetary or food donation, or to explore volunteering options for the Well, click here to be directed to the Well’s website.