One of the most prominent churches in Anchorage is going big this holiday season with its annual community Christmas celebration.

Santa and Mrs. Clause will be on hand at the Anchorage Baptist Temple’s Christmas Spectacular.

Dec. 11-13, Anchorage Baptist Temple will be transformed into a “Christmas Spectacular,” equipped with horse drawn sleigh rides, visits and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a teeming elf village, a craft bazaar and live theatrical Christmas performances. Everything is free. The church is also turning its gymnasium into a giant Christmas store where families in need can choose gifts for their children.

The free, three-day event runs 4-9 p.m. each night and includes a Christmas light show every half hour starting at 5:30 p.m.

While there will be plenty of family-friendly holiday entertainment, the church will also share the authentic story of Christmas – the birth of Christ.

“We are going to proclaim and glorify the name of Jesus to the world,” Pastor Ron Hoffman told his congregation on Dec. 6, while noting that this has been a “crazy year.”

“It’s been a time of questions and chaos in our world,” he said. “It’s time for us to really remember that God is in control.”

With Anchorage’s latest citywide COVID mandate, which went into effect on for December, there was some concern that the annual Christmas Spectacular might be cancelled. Acting Mayor Austin-Quinn Davidson issued the emergency lockdown of bars, restaurants and many entertainment venues across the city. She also imposed mandates on churches, saying masks must be continuously worn if there is food or drink, and restricting churches to no more than 50% capacity.

In an address to the congregation last week, Anchorage Baptist Temple worship Pastor Joel Preston dispelled rumors that the church might be cancelling its Christmas events.

“It’s still on. It’s not getting cancelled. I don’t care what rumors you heard,” he said. “It’s happening. It’s going to happen!”


  • Craft Bazaar: Starts at 4 p.m. nightly
  • Horse drawn sleigh rides: 5-6:30 p.m. nightly
  • Photos with Santa: 5-6:30 p.m. nightly
  • Elf Village: 5-6:30 p.m. nightly
  • Live Christmas show: 7 p.m. nightly

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Amid COVID closures, Anchorage church forges ahead with ‘Christmas Spectacular’

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.