Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Submitted
The merchants and restaurants on Main Street teamed up with Tri Kappa to bring Breakfast with Santa to the town’s brick street for the fourth year on Saturday, December 2. The annual breakfast was once held in a cafeteria at Pleasant View Elementary where breakfast, crafts and a visit with Santa would entertain the local children while raising awareness of the organization’s good works. Tri Kappa’s leadership, along with the Downtown Merchant’s Committee, organized the first Breakfast with Santa in downtown Zionsville, and the event has since become a beloved addition to the Christmas in the Village traditions.
Tri Kappa is a statewide philanthropic organization in Indiana. Zionsville Zeta Sigma Chapter of Tri Kappa was founded in 1973. The chapter specifically raises funds each year to support local nonprofits and schools through a grant-making process. Any students at the college level are welcome to apply for scholarships. To raise these funds, chapter members actively volunteer at community events along with specific Tri Kappa fundraising events, Santa Breakfast in December and Savor, Sip and See each spring. The chapter also sells delectable butter braids during the fall.
Zionsville resident Chantelle Dodson has chaired the breakfast for three years. She explained one of the advantages of hosting the breakfast downtown is the visibility it gives Tri Kappa in the community.
“Our organization has benefited because we are actually out in the community working with vendors and businesses during our two events, Breakfast with Santa and Savor, Sip and See,” Dodson said. “We utilize the businesses and build relationships with the vendors and people that are involved in each of these events. We feel that Breakfast with Santa has become more of a community event since it was moved to downtown Zionsville.”
Dodson emphasized these events help build the awareness of what Tri Kappa offers community members. In particular, seniors who are college-bound should contact Tri Kappa and apply for available scholarships.
The local restaurants have enjoyed switching up their traditional menus for a day and offering a kid-friendly menu. “We try to keep breakfast pretty simple, especially because over half of the diners are kids,” said Liz Esra, co-owner of Cobblestone. Owners Kent and Liz Esra were part of the team that spearheaded bringing the event to the bricks. “We prepared scrambled eggs, bacon, French toast sticks and fruit out on a buffet. The kids were so excited when they arrived. Most were dressed in cute little holiday outfits. They enjoyed their meals, and when Santa came in, it was so magical. It’s always a lot of fun, and it’s been a nice addition to the Christmas in the Village activities.”
After breakfast, the children checked in at their pre-assigned craft stations that were hosted by several of the downtown merchants. Black Dog Books hosted the traditional “readings,” so Mrs. Claus could assist her husband with visiting the families at the local restaurants this year. The families were also able to visit with Santa at the Santa House on Main Street and deliver their “wish lists,” either in person or in his mailbox. Santa’s “mailbox” will remain at the Santa House throughout its scheduled time on Main Street for any last-minute requests.
The local merchants hosted a variety of crafts on that Saturday. Steve Schwartz, owner of Ballerinas and Bruisers, was one of the downtown merchants who championed bringing the breakfast event to Main Street. “When the discussion was had with Tri Kappa to bring the Breakfast with Santa to Main Street, I was co-chairing Christmas in the Village that year,” Schwartz said. “I, along with other downtown merchants and restaurant owners, was excited about the opportunity to host the kids and their families for breakfast and crafts. It not only gives the organization more visibility among the members of the community, but it gives the business owners a chance to give back to the families who support our local businesses. We have traditionally hosted a craft station here at my store and are looking forward, once again, to having the children fill my store with laughter and the merriment of the holiday season.”
For information on Zionsville Zeta Sigma Chapter of Tri Kappa and for volunteer opportunities, visit zionsvilletrikappa.org.