Christmas in July event hits downtown Panama City

Christmas in July event draws a large crowd
Published: Jul. 16, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Vendors and people flooded McKenzie Park in downtown Panama City on Saturday for the second Christmas in July event.

It’s co-hosted by the Panama City Farmer’s Market and Stuff the Bus.

“We wanted to put our own twist on it and that’s why we reached out to Skip with Stuff the Bus,” Market Manager Bill Davenport said. “We teamed up with him so not only can you get your jump on Christmas shopping down here but you can also start giving to ensure kids have a toy for Christmas.”

Stuff the Bus is a nonprofit organization aimed at helping kids who are less fortunate in Bay County.

“We focus on the older kids in July,” said Stuff the Bus Director Skip Bondur. “All of the monetary donations during this campaign will actually be used to buy gifts for kids 12 and older.”

Davenport said it’s never too early to help those in need.

“We’re doing great today,” Davenport said. “Tomorrow, we could be looking for that hand-up and not necessarily a handout. It’s important as a community that we circle the wagon and we take care of each other.”

Stuff the Bus’s toy donation goal every year is 10,000 toys. However, this goal can’t be met without community support.

That’s why Stuff the Bus starts collecting items nearly a year before Christmas.

“December 26, we start collecting for the following year,” Bondur said.

Bondur also said he doesn’t rest until the 10,000 toy goal is met.

“I stay on the roof of the bus until we hit those goals,” Bondur said. “On Dec. 4 I’ll go on the roof and I’m not coming down until we meet the local need to provide Christmas for all the kids here in Bay County who are in need.”

You can donate to Stuff the Bus by visiting its website.

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