Santa Isn’t Coming to Town, Grinch Says ??

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa, but he will not be making his annual trip to Olean this November, thanks—or no thanks—to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We tried our best to make it happen this year, but the size of the crowds we always attract and the number of individuals on floats in the parade made it impossible,” Meme Yanetsko, chief operating officer of the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce, said.  “Everyone we worked with—health officials, school personnel, law enforcement, our board—everyone wanted to continue the decades-old tradition of Santa Claus coming to Olean and lighting up Santa Claus Lane.  It’s just a logistical impossibility.”

Officials had looked at the possibility of having a stationary parade, where viewers drove by in cars to view the floats and to see Santa.  “But even that was basically unworkable,” she said.

However, Mrs. Yanetsko said Santa Claus Lane itself will continue.

“We’re very fortunate that city workers and staff from KelKur Electric have been decorating the streets with our lights to make for a very festive Santa Claus Lane,” she said.  “So, the spirit of Santa Claus—and Santa Claus Lane—continues in Olean.   And don’t worry—Santa will be back next year, better than ever.”

Mrs. Yanetsko said the lighting of Santa Claus Lane will be done by Santa’s elves on Friday, November 27.  “We realize that many families have relatives come home for Thanksgiving with the annual trip to downtown Olean to see the lights and festivities.  We encourage you to still come on down, park at Lincoln Park, and walk through the lights to Main Street and back.”  The magic of Santa Claus Lane will still be very evident in the hearts of you and your loved ones.

GOACC has connected with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and they will be to Olean for two additional Visits with Santa in December. The Claus’ will visit with the children from 6 – 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, December 2 and December 9; and new dates December 15 and 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. in their newly built in 2019 cottage in Olean’s Lincoln Park. Children will visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus through the windows in the cottage to ensure safety for all.  A mailbox, created by families of the EvenStart program, is placed by Santa’s Cottage in Lincoln Park.  Santa is encouraging all children to write a letter to Santa and place it in the mailbox. 

GOACC is also encouraging organizations to participate in the Turkey Trot scheduled for Thanksgiving, November 26th at the Olean Family YMCA.  For more information, call Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce at 716-372-4433 or email



25th Santa Claus Lane Ornament Now Available



Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its newest Santa Claus Lane ornament, a depiction of the two locations of Tasta Pizza.  Through the ornament sales, holiday lights are funded and can be lit in Olean from November to early January.  The ornament, in a series created by artist Kathleen McDonald, is $25.00.

“Hestia (Massachusetts) is the company who creates/manufactures these ornaments for many companies.  They are precise in details of the building, taken from photos/brochures that we send out to them.  Really, the only thing missing of the Tasta ornament is that scratch and sniff sticker indicating the pizza aroma!” stated Meme K. Yanetsko, GOACC COO.
Every year, the Santa Claus Lane committee chooses the landmarks to be designed on the 3 1/2 inch circular resin ornament.  The artist sketches the layout from photos provided by Chamber officials and a prototype is created.  Once the prototype is approved, work begins with the process of pouring and hand-painting each piece.  The ornaments arrive in Olean, individually boxed, with a brief description of the ornament. 

The new ornaments are available at the Chamber office at 301 North Union Street.  They can also be purchased at Tasta Pizza, 1521 West State Street, Olean.  Ornaments can also be shipped outside Olean for an additional $6 for shipping/handling charges per ornament.   All ornaments are available online for purchasing as well at the Chamber’s shopping site – . For more information on the ornament or GOACC activities, please call GOACC at 716/372-4433, stop in the office or email.


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