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Santa and helpers bring Christmas cheer to Findley Lake residents

December 7, 2016
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

FINDLEY LAKE - Books and movies often depict Christmas in a small town as more of a feeling than a happening. Christmas thru the Village, held each year in Findley Lake allows people to experience this in real life.

"This has more of a hometown feel," said John Raines of Corry. ""It feels like Christmas here, instead of some corporation shoving it down our throats."

Julie Baginski of Erie agreed noting how the small store experience of Christmas shopping seems to put one in the right mood. "We were just singing," she said. "It's hard to get in the Christmas spirit in a big store."

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
Santa poses with some of his helpers during a break. From left to right are elf Desiree Davis, junior elf Gianna Susi, Santa Claus, and Mrs. Santa, AKA Shelly Sharp.

This years' celebration was held on December 3 and 4, with genuine old-time Christmas shopping, pictures with Santa Claus, wood-burning warming barrels placed throughout the village, and Christmas music filling the air.

Santa Claus made his appearance as usual in the Chamber of Commerce building. He reminded everyone that he likes beef stew better than cookies and milk.

Santa said the kids were extra good this year and pretty specific in their requests. "One boy wanted only John Deere stuff. Another wanted a Nerf gun," he said. "One girl said she could not decide, so I said I would come up with something and she said: Okay!"

Sue Klossner of Point Chautauqua in Dewittville said the whole village had an ambience that put one at ease. "I like the homey-ness, the friendly atmosphere. I like things that are homemade, or made locally," she said. "It feels more like Christmas." They've got wood fires burning outside. It's just nice here."

Many shoppers said they enjoy coming to the small shops instead of large department stores. "We love Findley Lake," said Kathy DeDioniso of Erie. "We come here year-round."

Kathy Hayes of Dunkirk said she comes to Findley Lake every chance she gets. "We just like the small town feel. It's like a nostalgic feeling," she said.

Elaine Frederickson, also of Dunkirk, agreed and said that they come back time after time because of the uniqueness of the village. "It's something special to do. It's not the same-old, same-old," she said.

Tammy Raines of Corry said that Findley Lake offers something different from the usual stores. "We come because of the unique items at a reasonable price," she said. "We like to shop small."

Even the sellers were charmed by the spirit of Christmas in the village. Richard Ribbing of Busti and his son Jonathan set up their kettle corn tent on Main Street for the event. "It's a nice area," Richard said. "Business has been good."

And Leanne Becker, owner of September Moon Art Gallery, said the event was successful except for one thing. "Everybody seems cheerful and happy," she said. "I wish we had a little more snow."



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