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Santa Claus

Youngsters Pack Fire Hall As Santa Visits Schenevus

Youngsters Pack Fire Hall

As Santa Visits Schenevus

Ariella Lapre, 5, prepares to share her wish list with Santa Claus, who paid his annual visit this afternoon to the  Schenevus Fire Department’s Christmas Party at the fire hall, organized by the department’s auxiliary.  She’s the daughter of Steve and Sandy Lapre, Westford.  As many as 100 youngsters were expected including (inset, right) Jade Jaquish, 1, who  was excited about meeting Santa, but then wasn’t too sure when she saw the Big Guy in his sled.  She’s the daughter of Liam and Samantha Jaquish, Schenevus.  The annual holiday highlight features food and Christmas cookies, and the Schenevus Central Dragon Tones were scheduled to sing at 4, according to Auxiliary Vice President Christina Snyder, one of the organizers.  (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Frigid Temperatures Mark Santa’s Arrival

Frigid Temperatures

Mark Santa’s Arrival

Santa in driven into Oneonta by Jay Chase of Chase-n-Dreams Farm, Oneonta, and his sister horses Molly and Dolly during this evening’s Santa Parade in downtown Oneonta. At right, Andrea Thies, Oneonta, walks her dog Sanabel along the parade route, wishing onlookers Merry Christmas. Temperatures in the upper teens thinned some of the crowd, but didn’t keep hundreds from turning out to welcome St. Nick. After visiting with Santa, families could walk around downtown enjoying cider, cocoa, alpacas and carriage rides as they awaited the Tree Lighting ceremony in Muller Plaza. (Ian Austin, James Cummings/AllOTSEGO.com)

Farewell, Mrs. Claus!

Farewell, Mrs. Claus!

Mrs. Claus, aka Vera Stewart, seen at her post outside of JCPenney at the Southside Mall (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

By IAN AUSTIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Steve Hughes, Gilbertsville, gives Mrs. Claus a big Christmas hug.

ONEONTA – The end of the Christmas season will mark the end of an era for a Southside Mall mainstay.

For over two decades, Vera Stewart, aka Mrs. Claus, has been volunteering for the Salvation Army by ringing bells and holding doors at her station outside of JCPenney, spreading cheer to holiday shoppers. Dressed in red velvet with white trim, the Southside Mrs. Claus has become a mainstay of the Christmas season to many visitors young and old.

“When they first asked me to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, I decided to try it.” said Stewart, “I began doing it only on weekends, then I went to five days a week.”

Merry And Bright

Merry & Bright

Tree Lighting Brings Out

Animals, Dancers, Food

Main Street was a flurry of activity as holiday revelers hit the streets to attend the annual Christmas Tree lighting this evening in Muller Plaza. Applause and cheers filed the air after a countdown by Mayor Gary Herzig, Town Supervisor Bob Wood and Santa Claus. Afterward,  Santa, seen above giving a high-five to Oneonta’s Avalon Hermann and her parents Brian and Loren, met with children in his holiday house to discuss their wish lists. Dancers Chase Vining and Sariha Vestefeld, right, and other members of the Fokine Ballet, could be seen twirling in windows throughout downtown promoting this weekend’s presentation of “The Nutcracker.” While children from local schools searched for their ornaments on the tree, local organizations served refreshments, sang carols, gave horse-drawn carriage rides, and gave out hand warmers.(Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Emcee “Big Chuck” D’Imperio, right, stands high above a packed crowd that gathered on Main Street this morning to welcome Santa back to Oneonta with big cheers and happy smiles during the annual Santa Parade. Santa will spend the afternoon in his cottage in Muller Plaza, hearing good boys and girls’ Christmas wishes. And once you’ve seen Santa, you can go down to Foothills to see the Gingerbread Jubilee and join in the cookie fun. At right, Brittany Boyke, Davenport, helps her little penguin – daughter Alexis Merwin – decorate a delicious holiday treat. The fun at Foothills continues until 3 p.m.

Treelighting Brings Throngs Downtown

ONEONTA TRADITION LIVES!

Treelighting Brings

Throngs Downtown

Hundreds turned out again this evening for the community treelighting in downtown Oneonta, a highlight of the season in the City of the Hills.  In top photo, posing in front of the just-lit tree are, from left, Santa's elf Allison Green, Mayor Gary Herzig (just back from last night's tree lighting at Rockefeller Center), You Know Who and Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood.  The four soloists in the upcoming Fokine Ballet "Nutcracker" – from left, Hannah Reynolds, Rose Wake, Gabriella Basdekis and Siarra Goodhue – flashing winning smiles at passing fans.  Lower left, Keegan Head, 16 months, of Oneonta, peers from his dad Kevin's shoulders at the tree-lighting fun. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Hundreds packed Muller Plaza this evening for the community treelighting in downtown Oneonta, a highlight of the season in the City of the Hills. In top photo, posing in front of the just-lit tree are, from left, Santa’s elf Allison Green, Mayor Gary Herzig (just back from last night’s treelighting at Rockefeller Center), You Know Who, and Oneonta Town Supervisor Bob Wood.  Lower right, the four soloists in the upcoming Fokine Ballet “Nutcracker” – from left, Hannah Reynolds, Rose Wake, Gabriella Basdekis and Siarra Goodhue – flashing winning smiles at passing fans. Lower left, Keegan Head, 16 months, of Oneonta, peers from his dad Kevin’s shoulders at the tree-lighting fun. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Christmas Comes To Cooperstown

Christmas Comes

To Cooperstown

Children and adults alike lined the streets around Pioneer Park this evening to welcome the Mr. and Mrs. Claus to their seasonal home in Cooperstown. Student volunteers like Jessica Becerra and Chihiro Kapafuchi, Cooperstown, as well as Frosty, Rudolf and elves were seen throughout the crowd posing for pictures and handing out candy canes ans spreading holiday cheer. Before receiving his first visitors of the season, Santa addressed the crowd; "Do you know why we chose our second home to be here?" he asked, "Because you have the best Christmas spirit!" (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Children and adults alike lined the streets around Pioneer Park this evening to welcome the Mr. and Mrs. Claus to their seasonal home in Cooperstown. Student volunteers like Jessica Becerra and Chihiro Kapafuchi, Cooperstown, as well as Frosty, Rudolf and elves were seen throughout the crowd posing for pictures and handing out candy canes ans spreading holiday cheer. Before receiving his first visitors of the season, Santa addressed the crowd; “Do you know why we chose our second home to be here?” he asked, “Because you have the best Christmas spirit!” (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Santa Does Stand-Up
DAH-DUM-DUM-DUM…

Santa Does Stand-Up

Who is this funny man?
Who is this masked – and funny – man?

What do you call a line of men waiting for a haircut?

A barberqueue

Why was the turkey in the pop group?

Because he was the only one with drumsticks!

What do you call a boomerang that does not come back?

A stick

The Spirit of the Season

The Spirit of the Season

There was no memo. Zack Telfer of Fly Creek, left, and Jay Beecher of Milford both, coincidentally, showed up for work today at the Country Inn & Suites, Hartwick Seminary, wearing the color of the season. They pose with another guy in the lobby who was similarly in the spirit of the season. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
There was no memo. Zack Telfer of Fly Creek, left, and Jay Beecher of Milford both, coincidentally, showed up for work today at the Country Inn & Suites, Hartwick Seminary, wearing the color of the season. They pose with another guy in the lobby who similarly caught the spirit. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Holiday Magic in Muller Plaza

Santa, Hundreds Of  ‘Elves,’

 Bring Magic To Muller Plaza

With the help of the crowd, Acting Mayor Russ Southard and Santa Claus light the Christmas tree in Muller Plaza on Thursday night.
With the help of the “elves” in the crowd, Acting Mayor Russ Southard and Santa Claus light the Christmas tree in Muller Plaza on Thursday night. (Ian Austin/allotsego.com)

ONEONTA – More than 200 people braved the cold and crowded into Muller Plaza to help Mayor Russ Southard and Santa Claus light the Oneonta Christmas tree earlier this evening.

“I tried to light the tree earlier, but I couldn’t get it to work,” said Southard.  “The maintenance guys told me I needed two things: Santa Claus and elves.”  He had Santa, and Santa quickly dubbed all the people gathered in the plaza as his elves, and with a countdown from ten, the tree magically sprung to light.

Main Street remained shut down for most of the evening so visitors could view the gingerbread houses, warm up with some hot chocolate from The Red Caboose, enjoy dancers from the Donna Decker School of Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” and take horse-drawn sleigh rides through the center of town.  The Oneonta History Center had their holiday train set running, and stores remained open late to invite shoppers in for gifts.

Santa Hears Wishes At Southside Mall

Santa Hears Wishes At Southside Mall

Jacob Hubner, 4, of Oneonta was a little bashful at first, but eventually he did sit on Santa's lap this afternoon at Schuylkill Mall and told St. Nick what's on his Christmas wish list.  Jacob was accompanied by his sister Piper, 1, and parents Melissa and John.  Santa will be a Southside Mall between now and Christmas on Saturdays, noon-4, and Sundays, 1-5.  Also Christmas Eve, 9 a.m.-noon.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Jacob Hubner, 4, of Oneonta, was a little bashful at first, but eventually he did sit on Santa’s lap this afternoon at Schuylkill Mall and told St. Nick what’s on his Christmas wish list. Jacob was accompanied by his sister Piper, 1, and parents Melissa and John. Santa will be a Southside Mall between now and Christmas on Saturdays, noon-4, and Sundays, 1-5. Also Christmas Eve, 9 a.m.-noon. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
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