Below is the behind the scenes story of how the Santa Claus Lane Parade goes on each year.
Each January, the GOACC staff and City crews undecorate Lincoln Park and the decorations that light up the streets. These decorations are stored in a warehouse near the water plant on River Street. The decorations are in storage until about April.
In April, GOACC with many volunteers go over to the warehouse twice a week to check out the inventory, refurbish the decorations, and to check the lights. These shelves hold most of the supplies and tools that are needed for the refurbishing. Supplies include: garlands waiting to be attached; C-7 and C-9 light bulbs in almost every color of the rainbow; hog rings that attach the garland to the metal wire; extra bulbs for the pole trees; electrical tape; pliers; screwdrivers; safety glasses; hundreds of extension cords; and more
This photo shows the US Flag, donated by the City of Olean Fire Department, and other large figurines. Those figurines are awaiting someone to check all the bulbs. Each figurine is checked to make sure that the lights are lit BEFORE they leave the warehouse. However, due to transportation and delivery, some lights are not lit once down at Lincoln Park. The volunteers again do a visual check of the lights to make sure each figurine is lit for all to enjoy!
Every other pole along East and West State Streets has a Christmas tree or white star attached to it. About 40 trees and 40 stars have their lights checked. Also, the Christmas trees have red ornament bulbs attached - many fall each winter and need to be reattached.
The box of bulbs to the left is C-9 bulbs - these bulbs are replacements for the garland bulbs, thepole trees and pole star bulbs, and some strings of lights. In 2004, the refurbishing was done at the then city-owned building on South Union. Now, the refurbishing was done at the old water plant (located behind the new water plant). When the decorations were taken down this year, they were placed in the current refurbishing place on River Street. This is by far the best place for storage and refurbishing. There is ample room for all the decorations to be placed neatly and carefully for storage, and lighting is not an issue here. Through the three moves, however, GOACC found a bunch of C-9s. After each refurbishing, an inventory is done of what is needed for the following years. There is enough C-9s to last us for several parades to come!
Santa Claus Lane added twelve cone shaped trees to its lighting celebration in 1995. Through donations from area businesses, these trees (materials) were purchased and then created by students at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES. In 2005, the trees had lights on them. This year, we recycled some of the garlands and decorated the trees in shiny colorful garlands for all to enjoy.
This box contains GOACC staff's favorite tool for decorating -- they call it a T -- but it basically gives you the ability to plug in three cords to one outlet. This elimates the need for more extension cords, and also allows the decorators to really light up a bush or a tree.
Right after Halloween, the decorations go up around town. Then, GOACC staff goes around Lincoln Park and connects all the lights back to the power source. The staff also makes sure that cords are at a minimum because many visitors like wandering through the park. Once the lights are connected, we check the lights at different times leading up to the parade. We want to make sure all lights and figurines are working when Santa has the lights turned on.
Meanwhile, the snowflakes, trees and stars and the skyline sets are taken from the warehouse by City of Olean employees to be hung on the light poles on Union and State Streets. The city also receives assistance from Spectrum/Time Warner Cable and their bucket truck to hang the garlands. This is a very important job for the Santa Claus Lane celebration.
The City electricians are also busying ensuring the skylines and trees and stars are connected and will also light up for the Parade.
The Santa Claus Lane Parade and Celebration is almost a year-long process with many volunteers 'behind the scenes' making sure all is set for Santa and Mrs. Claus. We couldn't do the parade without these volunteers and without the help from the City of Olean. Santa Claus Lane, and particularly the Parade, has become a
tradition for the greater Olean area and western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania region. For many people, the parade has developed into a pilgrimage to the City of Olean on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Since it marks the beginning of the holiday season, Santa Claus Lane draws from as far as Rochester and Buffalo to the north, Jamestown and Erie, PA from the west, Allegany and Wyoming counties to the east and McKean and Potter counties to the south. The greater Olean area is a well-diversified community and as such, people from all walks of life and religion attend the parade to celebrate the gifts and graces of the holiday seasons. It is truly a night when community comes together.
Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce • 716-372-4433 • firstname.lastname@example.org