"Holidays on the West Side" brings South Bend community together

As we are getting closer to the holidays, Santa is spreading joy to communities in Michiana. La Casa de Amistad, help put together “Holidays on the West Side” in South Bend where families in the area are able to enjoy free activities, Mexican hot chocolate and cookies.

“We wanted to plan a family friendly festival that would be free for folks to come out here,” said Sam Centellas, who works with Westside Wednesday.

And that’s exactly what "Holidays on the West Side" is. Centellas explained this is something new for everyone. So this is the first time we’re doing a holiday event like this and hopefully the first of many,” he said.

Santa was able to make his way into perfect touch salon, where he greeted children and left them smiling with gifts.

“He told me what I wanted and I said Batman,” said 5-year-old Jose.  J Wahlen an 11-year-old said, “I’m really thankful because this almost cross off everything on my wish list.”

Even adults were able to enjoy a quick sit down with Santa. “Everyone is having a great time going from restaurant to shopping,” said Karen Haun the owner of Bendix Coffee.

Almost every business on West Western Avenue participated. Cookies and crafts were inside Total Faith Ministries and holiday venders were inside Gallery 2910.

One Urban Garden Market vendor told me business starts slowing down around this time.

“It’s kind of hard you know,” said Eugene Baughtman who works with Pa’s Vegetable Patch.

When asked if these events help he said, “Yes, very much so.”

This event has an impact on the economy, but also on the perspective of South Bend’s Westside.

“They also then help create pride in the neighborhood,” said Centellas. ?

“Everything you hear from this side of town is negative, you hear about violence and things like that but really when it’s something like this I have no problem coming out here,” said Erica Centsy, a South Bend resident.

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