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Valley Journals

A Christmas wish: Beloved Santa Shack needs new home for 2019

Dec 03, 2018 02:15PM ● By Spencer Belnap

Santa waves outside the Santa Shack on Sugarmont Plaza a few seasons ago. (Courtesy Laurie Bray Photography)

By Spencer W. Belnap | s.belnap@mycityjournals.com 

The Sugar House Santa Shack, a beloved holiday landmark of the neighborhood for over 70 years will be back at Sugarmont Plaza (2234 S. Highland Dr.) on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The tradition will have one more season in the parking lot of the old Deseret Industries building, currently being leased by The Bicycle Center. It then must locate a new permanent home for 2019 and beyond.

“We’re trying to find a good permanent spot for it,” said Laurie Bray, member of the Sugar House Chamber and main operator of the Santa Shack. “Somewhere commercial, or ideally Monument Plaza again.”

The Santa Shack was last at Monument Plaza (1078 E. 2100 South) in 2013. The busy communal spot is now surrounded by new restaurants and businesses, but does not have enough power to support space heaters. The plaza has been used for the Sugar House Pub Crawl most recently, but nothing during the holidays. Bray believes if they change the power wattage for the plaza, it could open other possibilities for events throughout the year.

“I’ll have to work with the city to try to get more power,” Bray said. “A lot of events could happen at that plaza though. I’d love to see it go there again, but we’re open to other areas in the neighborhood.”

With all the big development in Sugar House, the tiny chalet-style structure has also been squeezed out of its familiar terrain. It is stored outside the old Deseret Industries building, locked up the other 11 months it is not in use. While there are no immediate plans for that large building and plot once The Bicycle Center vacates to its new space next summer, it’s a chunk of land continually being eyed and evaluated by developers. 

If the Santa Shack could evolve into a structure that is used throughout the year somewhere, that would be ideal for Bray and patrons too. While small, it certainly packs in a lot of charm, and could be an arts or crafts booth at the right location in the neighborhood. Sugar House residents and fans of the shack are encouraged to go the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SugarHouseSantaShack, if they have any suggestions on locations or uses. 

The future of the seasonal tradition may be currently unsettled, but the tradition will have one last hurrah at Sugarmont Plaza. Santa Claus will arrive in style via the fire engine from Station 3 at noon on Nov. 24. Unlike a mall Santa, this Santa—now in his 14th year at the shack—offers a unique and more intimate setting to chat and have your picture taken. Some people, even adults, dress up for the occasion or bring their pets. 

All ages are invited to stop by the Santa Shack and see the jolly guy, and enjoy a cookie or purchase some local merchandise. It will be open 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on the weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays throughout Christmas Eve.