Metro, Newton

Newton Hosts Holiday Mini Golf Event As Part of Annual Gift Drive

A vibrant mini golf course lined with stuffed animals and colorful flags snaked through the City Council Chambers, War Memorial, and mayor’s office on Saturday and Sunday.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller hosted a holiday mini golf event as a part of City Hall’s annual holiday gift drive, an initiative The Village Bank has sponsored for 15 years. 

“I’m seeing people of all ages laughing, and laughing while they’re in City Hall seems like a terrific thing,” Fuller said. 

Families had the opportunity to play mini golf in exchange for donating one gift to the gift drive. Local children will receive the gifts from Fuller’s event and other donation initiatives hosted by The Village Bank, according to its website.

While the city has held drive-thru gift drives in the past, it wanted to create an event that generated more community involvement than past initiatives, according to Hattie Derrick, Newton’s director of community engagement and inclusion. 

“We thought this would be fun and a way for families and friends and neighbors to come together, give a gift, and do a fun activity, because, you know, people love mini golf,” Derrick said. 

The city wanted to find a way to give more residents the chance to experience City Hall, according to Derrick. 

“This is super cute,” Newton resident Elizabeth Norian said. “It was really nice to get to see the whole City Hall. I’ve never been in here before, so we got to see it top to bottom. It’s a beautiful building.”

The golf course stretched through the mayor’s office, which was filled with gifts and snacks available for the event’s participants. Norian left a note on Fuller’s desk, thanking her for the event.

Library Mini Golf, a company that has previously set up mini golf fundraisers at local libraries to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief, organized the course. The Village Bank coordinated Library Mini Golf’s involvement in bringing the event to City Hall.

“It took about four hours to set up with volunteer help,” Russ Bolton, one of Library Mini Golf’s founders, said. “I’ve done churches, synagogues, and historical houses. But this is the first time I’ve ever done something like this.”

The city hosted an exclusive mini golf event for city councilors and their families on Friday in order to show employee appreciation, according to Fuller. 

“That was lovely, for employees to bring their children—or grandchildren in some cases—and enjoy City Hall in a slightly different way than usual,” Fuller said. 

Two hundred and twenty families had signed up three days prior to the event, according to Derrick.

During the event, Newton resident Melissa Crocker said she believed the event drew a larger turnout than previous gift drives because of the novelty of it being centered around playing mini golf. 

“I’m not opposed to donating by any means,” Crocker said. “But I think the event triggered people’s memories and reminded them to come out and bring gifts.”

December 4, 2022