Sleigh rides in Downsville help Sandy Hook victims, free clinic - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sleigh rides in Downsville help Sandy Hook victims, free clinic

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A special man in a red suit made an appearance in western Wisconsin this afternoon, and he wasn't alone. Santa brought a couple of reindeer and his sleigh along to the Red Cedar Lodge in Downsville to help out those in need.

"It's just a magical time of the year, and they get to come, meet Santa, meet his reindeer, before he takes off on that big trip December 24th," said Melissa Schoeder, Owner of Red Cedar Lodge.

As Santa gears up for his big night, he and a couple of his reindeer stopped in Downsville Sunday, offering up sleigh rides at the Red Cedar Lodge for a good cause.

"We can celebrate Christmas with our loved ones, and if we can help out in any way that's what we need to do. And all the proceeds for this event go for the free clinic, and to Sandy Hook Elementary. That's what Christmas is all about, is helping and sharing," Schoeder said.

The Free Clinic of the Greater Menomonie area will be able to use Sunday's donations in a variety of ways.

"That money can help the free clinic provide medications, as well as diagnostics, lab work, medical care that people may need," said Jay Fahl, Free Clinic of the Greater Menomonie Area board member.

Hundreds of people came and went throughout the day, including several kids who were getting their first look at real life reindeer.

"They were wondering what kind of tail the reindeer had, and what they got to eat, so yeah it was pretty magical for them. They've heard the stories, they've seen "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the reindeer on video, but they've never got to see them this close," said Jackie Danzinger.

And it is a stop Santa's sleigh will make again next holiday season.

"We're going to do it year after year. We just want to make this a tradition at the Red Cedar Lodge."

The Red Cedar Lodge was able to raise $1,000 during the event.

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