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Ogdensburg North Pole display returns Sunday

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Despite being robbed of its signature Santa’s village in March, the Ogdensburg North Pole Satellite Office reopens this weekend.

A grand opening ceremony with Santa in attendance will be held Sunday at 4 p.m. at Flat Iron Park, at the corner of Main and Ogden streets, for the fourth annual Christmas display.

It won’t be the same, said co-chairman Gary J. Ladouceur.

“I never doubted that we’d have something,” he said Wednesday. “I just knew that it wouldn’t be what we once had.”

What was once had were 15 sheets of volunteer-painted plywood that comprised the display’s village. That included Santa’s house, a toy workshop and elves’ house. The separated pieces were stolen from Mr. Ladouceur’s yard, never to be seen again.

“No leads whatsoever,” Mr. Ladoucer said when asked of the whereabouts of the lumber, which took 15 friends and neighbors to paint in 2009.

What will be at the park for the holiday season starting Sunday and until Dec. 27 includes a reindeer-drawn sleigh, an igloo, a soldiers display, a memory tree and a “candyland” exhibit.

“The display had to go on for the joy of the children who come to visit the elves and Santa,” Mr. Ladouceur said, “It’s all for the children.”

Co-chairperson Maria G. Freitas agreed.

“The display embodies the spirit of the holidays for children of all ages,” she said. “We could not allow the selfish act of theft to destroy what has been come an annual promise of spirit and joy for the children of this community.”

Mr. Ladouceur hopes to one day build a new Santa’s village. For now, however, he knows that thieves failed to get the most important thing of all when they made off with the plywood.

“They may have taken the material things,” he said. “But they never robbed us of our spirit.”

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