VIPSanta is Waterford Winterval’s Santa’s Grotto experience for 2021, and this year’s theme is a ‘Green Christmas’.
 
Brian Gormally, founder of Sherpa Events and VIPSanta, is an advocate of sustainability and that ethos is apparent at this year’s Santa spectacular at the Old Postal Sorting Office on the Quay.
 
Not only has Brian and his team dressed the venue in leafy greenery and festive decorations, the interior is illuminated with low-level LED lighting to give the grotto a warm, festive feel. 
 
Brian’s journey into the events world started with Body&Soul Festival, Ireland’s most pioneering and progressive festival when it comes to creativity, innovation and sustainability.  Inspired by their green sustainable ethos, he has continued to implement these principles in to all of Sherpa’s corporate and public offerings.
 
For the first time ever, Winterval’s Santa Experience has an onsite café, The YuleTide Café, which uses compostable cups, napkins, plates and wooden cutlery.  The cups are certified 100% eco-friendly, produced from cardboard with a water-based coating, to enable them to decompose quickly.
 
Brian said, “The Santa gift, which comprises of The Johnny Magory book, written by award-winning Irish author Emma Jane Leeson, is produced in Ireland on sustainably sourced, biodegradable and recyclable paper.  If we can instil the benefits of a ‘conscious Christmas’ to parents, I truly believe that younger children will accept it and in fact, come to expect it.”
 
Brian added that Sherpa Events is passionate about creating sustainable events.  “When we are approached to get involved in an event, what we’re hearing is that it is increasingly important to our customers that their event has a ‘leave no-trace’ policy or at least we should be carrying out a carbon audit on every event we produce. That’s where we excel. We are experts are making memorable experiences and we get a great sense of achievement in meeting their needs, while doing so in a sustainable way that doesn’t cost the earth.”
 
“Children and teenagers are passionate about the environment.  Role models like Greta Thunberg have taught them that action can achieve results, if we work together.  They are more aware of climate change than previous generations were. It’s something that they are talking about in school and also at home with their families.  So it is great that we can deliver an environmentally-friendly event for the next generation of change-makers.”
 
Brian studied music production before cutting his teeth at some of Ireland’s leading events, including the likes of the Volvo Ocean Race, Web Summit and Heineken Music as well as numerous music festivals such as Electric Picnic and Body &Soul where he has been a lead production manager for a decade.  Body&Soul Festival has shown the strongest commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.
 
To find out about the fun, festive, family-friendly events taking place at Winterval in Waterford visit www.winterval.ie