STOCKTON - Santa was busy on this week visiting children in the town of Stockton and the village of Cassadaga.
He arrived by fire truck at 1 p.m. in Stockton, standing up on the truck and waving to the children waiting in the park at the four corners.
Even though there was a touch of snow on the ground, the sun was bright. The lenses of Santa's glasses darkened so that he looked like a cool dude in shades.
Children lined up to talk to Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. He coaxed the reluctant to talk and in one case even had a grandmother (Town Clerk Kathryn Palmer) sit in his lap while she held her granddaughter.
Santa also gave advice. "Try to be good between now and Christmas," he told one boy, "And listen to your mother."
Santa's helpers, the women firefighters from Stockton, prepared hot chocolate with miniature marshmallows. There were also beautiful Christmas cookies the ladies provided. Councilman John Beichner advised his daughter Brandi, "Choose a red one or a green one."
OBSERVER Photos by Diane R. Chodan
Top: Santa has the strength and patience to deal with two children at once.
Above: The Cassadaga Christmas celebration featured alpacas dressed with felt reindeer antlers.
In Cassadaga, an hour later, Santa again arrived in a fire truck. This time he pulled into Ames Park. The Cassadaga Fire Department assisted Santa by directing traffic and providing hot chocolate, donut holes and coffee. They also supplied candy canes and stuffed animals for Santa to distribute to the children.
In Cassadaga, there was a special treat. Triple Seven's Alpaca Farm located on Tarbox Road and owned by Robert and Krisanne Frank, brought two alpacas in a trailer.
Kris slipped felt reindeer antlers onto their heads. Remarkably enough the alpacas, who also wore carnival beads didn't seem to mind and kept the accessories in place. The animals willingly allowed the children and adults to pet them.
In Cassadaga, besides seeing children, Santa saw a ferret. While he didn't ask the ferret what it wanted for Christmas, he did willingly hold it on his lap while pictures were snapped.
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