By GAVIN PATERNITI
Special to the OBSERVER
MAYVILLE - The Carlson Community Center was the site of Santa's most recent visit to western New York.
Photo by Gavin Paterniti
On Saturday, the Mayville Fire department hosted its sixth annual Donuts with Santa event at Mayville’s Lakeside Park. Pictured above: Grady Obert, 3-years old, meets with Santa and discusses what he wants for Christmas.
On Saturday morning, Santa paid a visit to Mayville's Lakeside Park from 10 a.m. until noon, giving children an opportunity to meet with him before Christmas. Upon their arrival, kids lined up to tell Santa what they want for Christmas and have a picture taken with him. The event, called Donuts with Santa, was sponsored by the Mayville Fire Department and was overseen by its former president, Janet Crandall.
"This is our sixth year doing (Donuts with Santa)," said Crandall, who originally thought up the idea. "I remember that many years ago, Grace's Family Restaurant used to have Santa come in and the kids would have breakfast with him. And I thought that was such a neat thing. So (Mayville Fire Department) decided it would be nice to do something like that to give back to our community."
The Donuts with Santa event is held every year on the first Saturday in December and is funded largely by the members of the Mayville Fire Department.
"At our monthly fire department meetings, everybody contributes a dollar for our community fund so we have money to go toward this," said Crandall.
Every year, Campbell records the number of children who attend and their names. Each name is written on a piece of paper and made into a link that forms a chain, providing a visual representation of the rising attendance of Donuts with Santa throughout the years.
"We pack (the chains up) for the winter until the next year and bring them back out," she said. "The first year, we put it on our (Christmas) tree but now it's gotten too big for that. The past few years we've had them upstairs in the fire hall running down the bannister."
Members of the fire department also take pictures of each child with Santa and mail the pictures to the families. They also provide each child with a coloring book, crayons, a personalized Christmas stocking and a bag of candy. The bags of candy were donated by Webb's Year-Round Resort.
The fire department provided free donuts and hot chocolate to families and sold tickets for a giveaway of two electric train sets. Mark Parsons, pastor of Mayville United Methodist Church, provided a magic show.
"We're trying to put something back into the community and this is what we do for the kids," said Ron Trippy, chief of the Mayville Fire Department. "The kids enjoy it and we enjoy it, so everybody likes it."
Also in attendance was Mayville's mayor, Marty Bova, who was waiting to see his granddaughter meet Santa.
"It's a great thing for the community," said Bova. "And I'm so pleased, as the mayor, to see this building getting used for stuff like this because this is what our vision was when we built it. The best part is seeing all the kids, they're so excited about seeing Santa Claus. It's neat and it makes you feel like a kid again."