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Chamber event welcomes Santa to Massena


MASSENA - When Santa rolled into the Massena Community Center Saturday morning on the back of a Massena Fire Department truck, he was greeted by a small crowd.

But, much like the magic of Christmas, the crowd grew and grew during the morning, and Santa didn’t have a respite as child after child climbed on his lap to share their Christmas dreams.

Eight-year-old Taya P. Rushlow of Massena said she told Santa she was hoping to find a Barbie Dream House under the tree on Christmas morning.

Joshua N. Cameron told Santa an Ipod topped his Christmas list. “I’ve been a good boy. I helped clean the windows,” he assured Santa.

Another youngster thought for a second when Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas before also responding, “An Ipod.”

“Everybody wants an Ipod. That’s an expensive toy,” Santa responded.

Kassidy L. Ross, a Massena High School student who was interning as Santa’s elf this past weekend, said video games seemed to be the most popular items on the minds of the children sharing their Christmas wishes.

The Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce had welcomed Santa to downtown Massena for decades before moving the event to the Beach Street community center last year.

Chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said the community center building provides appropriate space for the annual event as well as ample parking. “It’s an ideal site,” he said.

The Massena All-Elementary Band welcomed visitors to the community center with holiday themed music prior to Santa’s arrival, volunteers from North County Savings Bank helped youngsters make Christmas ornaments. Cookies and Hawaiian punch were available and the Gotta Dance studio entertained during the course of the three-hour event. Santa was joined at the event by mascots from Massena Memorial Hospital - Dr. Care Bear rode on the fire truck with Santa - and Tarbell Management.

“It was a very nice turnout,” Mr. Gleason said. “I think the cold weather deterred some children, and I know there were other events going on that had many families out of town today. But the individual attention has shown the children has brought the magic to the Christmas season.”

Gabrielle R. Puente, 11, a Madison Elementary School student and member of the All-Elementary, stayed at the community center to make Christmas decorations after completing her band gig. She said she was enjoying her morning.

“Seeing Santa Claus is fun. I like playing in the band and making crafts is fun,” she noted.

The Madison Elementary School students also said it was fun to perform for the children as they waited for Santa’s arrival. “They like watching people play the instruments, and it is fun to play for them,” Gabrielle said.

Nicole E. Stowell attended the event with her husband and two children, ages 8 and 5. “The children like coming here each year. They like seeing Santa and making ornaments. When we were doing the tree this year, they remembered making their decorations last year. It gets them in the holiday spirit,” she said.

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