The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce and its Santa Claus Lane Committee have launched a fundraising campaign to provide Santa Claus Lane financial support in perpetuity.
“Santa Claus Lane is one of our community’s oldest traditions and we’re proud to continue it for the greater Olean area,” said Larry Sorokes, the Chamber’s CEO. “For decades, Santa Claus Lane and its parade have served as the kickoff to the holiday season. It’s our goal to ensure that Santa Claus Lane continues as the city’s holiday tradition for generations to come.”
The Chamber is looking to raise $125,000 for the annual display. Gifts so far to the fund bring its total about halfway to its goal.
“Santa Claus Lane has always been something for the community,” said Pam Pezzimenti, who co-chairs the Santa Claus Lane Committee’s fundraising arm with John Dwaileebe. “Contributions to the Santa Claus Lane Fund help make the annual display something by the community.”
Donations to the fundraising campaign will benefit Santa Claus Lane in two ways: maintenance of Santa Claus Lane decorations and the purchase of more holiday lights and displays.
“Monetary contributions from the community — which can be of any size — are vital to this campaign,” Dwaileebe said. “With that financial support we’ll be able to purchase more decorations for our downtown and revamp displays in Lincoln Park. We also intend to place more decorations throughout the city, like along State Street.”
In September, the Chamber received a shipment of the new decorations that will now decorate North Union Street. The delivery included 60 snowflakes, 15 stars, and 14 skylines, all of which will replace the snowflakes, Christmas trees and garlands that adorned downtown Olean during the holidays.
“We recently set up one the new snowflakes and skylines as a test, and we couldn’t have been happier with how they looked,” said Meme Yanetsko, the Chamber’s chief operations office. “It got us excited for North Union Street’s appearance during the upcoming holiday season. As we’ve said before, we think the community will embrace the enhancements we’re making to Santa Claus Lane.”
Decorations that will be displayed in Lincoln Park are currently being refurbished by staff at Pierce Steel Fabricators, Inc.
“We are very grateful to the individuals and businesses who have made our initial purchase of lights and decorations possible,” Sorokes said. “We now hope that others will follow and contribute to the Santa Claus Lane Fund at whatever level they are able. Gifts of any size are truly appreciated and will ensure this cherished tradition continues.”
Contributions to the Santa Claus Lane campaign can be made several ways.
“Working with the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, we’ve set up a website where people can make donations of any size online,” Sorokes said. “Donations made through the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent provided by law and those making contributions will receive documentation of their contribution in the mail.”
Online donations can be made at https://cattfoundation.org/santa-claus-lane-fund. Donations can also be mailed to directly to the Community Foundation, 301 N. Union St., Olean NY 14760. Checks should be made out to Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, Santa Claus Lane Fund.
This year’s Santa Claus Lane Parade is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 25.
Santa Claus Lane dates back to 1929 when a group of Olean merchants strung fresh pine boughs across North Union Street to mark the holiday season. It wasn’t long before they added lights and other decorations to create Santa Claus Lane. The tradition of Santa Claus Lane has grown to feature an annual parade and brings the community together in the spirit of camaraderie and goodwill.
For more information on the Santa Claus Lane Fund or fundraising campaign, call 716-372-4433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.