FALCONER - The annual visit of Santa Claus to the village of Falconer was preceded only mere moments by a blast of wintry weather.
A band of lake effect snow greeted spectators gathered along Main Street to witness the village's annual Santa Parade, providing for a completely different atmosphere from the sunny and mild temperatures of last year's event.
The weather, however, didn't detract from the enjoyment of parade attendees and participants in the parade. According to Sam Ognibene, superintendent of Falconer's public works, there was a minimal effect on overall attendance.
The Falconer Central School marching band performs during the annual Falconer Santa Parade on Saturday.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"It definitely was different than last year, but I don't think it hampered anything," Ognibene said. "As far as the parade, I don't think (the weather) impacted anything. The adults didn't seem to like it, but the kids marching still seemed to enjoy it."
The parade was led by Color Guards from the Henry Mosher Post 638 American Legion and also included the Falconer Central School marching band, the Fenner Elementary School fifth-grade chorus, Boy Scouts along with various children's groups and several local fire departments. Grand marshal was Steve Garvey, while Falconer Mayor David Krieg and Chautauqua County Clerk-elect Larry Barmore, who was recently elected to the office earlier this month, also marched.
Spectators lined the streets along the parade route, which started at Falconer Central School and traveled down Main Street, made a left on Davis Street and looped around in front of the Falconer Fire Department to Coleson Drive. The parade concluded when special guests Santa Claus and his wife, Mrs. Claus, arrived at the Santa House on Coleson Drive, across from Tops Friendly Markets.
Upon his arrival, Santa was met by several children, who were lined up in front of the Santa House. The children were given an opportunity to meet with Santa, tell him their Christmas wish list and have a free picture taken by Maria Johnson of CVS.
Ognibene, who was volunteering at the Santa House this year, said Santa did have less visitors to his house than in previous years.
"It started snowing pretty hard and some of the parents didn't want to keep their kids outside waiting to see Santa, so they took their kids and went home," Oginbene said. "But he still had a pretty decent crowd, and there were probably about 75 kids that were still waiting by the time I left."
In conjunction with the parade, craft shows were held by the Falconer Fire Department Auxiliary and the Falconer Ross Grange at the fire hall on Davis Street and the Falcons Nest Banquet Hall on East Main Street, respectively.
Cookies and cocoa were provided to parade participants by Tops Markets. Also on hand was Mike Morton's petting zoo, which was set up in front of the Santa House while kids were waiting to meet Santa.