On Saturday, Dec. 22, The Broken Oar Restaurant will open its doors to give children and their families an opportunity to see Santa in a novel, interactive environment: his own workshop.

In addition to being present for photographs, Santa will be joining children at creative stations to make crafts, decorate cookies, serve snacks, and more, throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Families in need of gifts for children during the holiday season will have an opportunity to receive and wrap presents during the event.

The nearly 300 gifts that will be given away (or saved for future events) come from donations from Utah Foster Care and purchases made by The Broken Oar Restaurant owners and operators Audrena and Randy Apadaca.

Randy said the event will be his first opportunity to play a hands-on role with Santa in the workshop for a large group of people.

“I’ve always wanted to [create a Santa’s workshop] since I was a little kid,” Randy said.

Randy said Santa will be wearing a custom suit that was made for The Broken Oar Restaurant.

The Apadacas have hosted holiday-themed events at their restaurant for about five years, but the event on Saturday will be the first of its kind for them.

Audrena said she thinks the opportunity for kids to interact with Santa in an informal environment will be a defining feature of the event, which aims to bring together families from around the area to celebrate the Christmas season.

Among the seasonal celebrations that the Apadacas have hosted at The Broken Oar Restaurant is an annual event showcasing Nativity scenes from around the world, some dating back to the 1940s, Randy said. The family has also provided free Thanksgiving meals from the restaurant for the past five years.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, the Apadacas hosted a holiday event for foster families in San Juan and Grand counties. Santa, trying out his new suit for The Broken Oar Restaurant, took gift requests from children and gave out presents after a free, catered dinner.

Audrena told the Moab Sun News that she and her husband had considered keeping The Broken Oar Restaurant open through the winter this year, due to the logistical concerns with temporarily closing the restaurant, but they decided against it, in part to allow the time and space to host holiday events.

“We’re really big on being able to give back,” Audrena said. “The community is a big part of what allows us to be successful, and because of that we really try and do our best to give back.”

Randy said that he had grown up “dirt poor,” and being raised by a single mother, he learned the importance of providing to people in need. He said that he is inspired by the people who provided a helping hand to his mother during times of need.

“I’m in a position that I can give back, and there are so many ‘thankless’ people that I’ll never even know did things for me,” Randy said.

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