Search ENP

Powered by Blogger.


Social Connect

Get it on Google Play

Upcoming Events

February, 2016:

Friday, February 20

ART247 Black and White Exhibition

March, 2016:

Advertise Your Event on ENP!
More info here

Friday, April 17, 2015
From left, Bill Neyenhouse, Pat Lense, and Bill Wilson pose for a photo this morning in front of the Santa Claus Christmas Cottage at the Day Road Park. The men are just three of hundreds in attendance at a Santa Claus Conference in Albion this weekend. (PHOTOS BY SCOTT LEFFLER / ENP STAFF)

By +Scott Leffler

TOWN OF LOCKPORT — Santa Claus was spotted this morning in Day Road Park. Repeatedly. In fact, a couple dozen Santas were spotted at the park — all part of a Santa Claus Conference taking part this weekend.

Mary Ida Doan, left, and Jane Holland talk with Chris Parada this morning at
Santa's Christmas Cottage at the Day Road Park.
The jolly old elves took time away from the Albion conference — dedicated to Albion's Charles W. Howard, who served as Santa for nearly two decades in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and started a Santa Claus school in Albion (which has since moved to Michigan) — to visit the park, home to Claus Christmas Cottage, which is dedicated to Howard.

Christopher Parada, executive director of the Historic Palace Theatre and Santa Claus aficionado, thrilled in showing off the cottage to those in attendance. Now in its sixth year, the cottage had about 10,000 believers through its doors this past December. Admission to the cottage, which was paid for by Parada, is free during the holiday season.

In all, as many as 500 Saint Nicks were expected to be in Western New York for the conference — from as far away as Norway.

Bill Wilson, a professional Santa Claus from Beloit, Wisc., said that "true Santas have got a camaraderie that you can't beat." He said the type of men who belong to the Santa Claus Oath Foundation — presenter of the conference — fill in for the real Santa for all the right reasons.

Bill Neyenhouse, a Santa from New Jersey said it was great to be in Western New York ... "where it all started ... and hear about the man that started it (Howard). What a tribute to him."

Margie Wolczak takes a photo of Wayne Wolczak in front of Santa's 
Christmas Cottage. The couple is from LaFayette, Ind.
Just as kids eyes light up when Santa Claus enters a room, even Santa has reasons to get excited, it would seem. Those in attendance at the park this morning stood in awe of two particular guests, both of whom were women. Mary Ida Doan and Jane Holland caught the attention of the Santas at the park. They were treated as royalty.

Doan was the second dean of the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School. She and her husband took over its operations after Howard died in 1966. Holland is Howard's granddaughter. Both expressed their delight at being at the conference, as well as the Christmas Cottage.

The conference kicked off Thursday night and continues through to Saturday afternoon. Sunday the Santas are invited to attend any of the many church services being held in the area.

For more information on the Santa Claus School, visit For more on the Lockport Christmas Cottage, visit

From left, Chris Parada, Pat Lense and Greg Bump discuss all things Santa inside the cottage.

For instant access to East Niagara Post's YouTube videos, social media feeds and more, 

1 comment:

  1. They better be careful.....some local firearms safety instructor may come by and shoot a hole in the floor!


Comments are always appreciated. Your comment will be reviewed for approval before being made public.