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'Santa Land' returns to Chestnut Ridge Park

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Thu, Dec 10th 2015 05:00 pm
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joins Santa Claus for a walk outside the casino at Chestnut Ridge Park on Thursday. The Jolly Old Elf will be setting up shop this weekend at the park with the return of `Santa Land.`
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joins Santa Claus for a walk outside the casino at Chestnut Ridge Park on Thursday. The Jolly Old Elf will be setting up shop this weekend at the park with the return of "Santa Land."

Poloncarz, officials announce return of free, two-day family-fun event

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined Thursday by members of the Erie County Parks Department, representatives of the Orchard Park Recreation Department, and Santa Claus, to announce the return of "Santa Land" to Chestnut Ridge this weekend. This popular, free event features a full schedule of family fun on both days. It runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"Despite a lack of snow, Christmas is in the air and this weekend we are welcoming Santa Claus back to Chestnut Ridge Park for 'Santa Land,' providing seasonal fun for kids of all ages," Poloncarz said. "Kids know its crunch time for those critical face-to-face meetings with Santa, which will be happening here all weekend along with hayrides and other great activities.

"I want to thank our Parks Department and their partners for their work in presenting this great event again this year."

Presented by the Erie County Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department in conjunction with the Orchard Park Recreation Department, "Santa Land" is bringing back family activities including woodcutting and marshmallow roasts on both days. Family favorites from earlier years return as well, with hayrides to Santa and arts and crafts scheduled throughout the weekend. In addition, the casino's concession stand will be open during the event offering food and drink for sale.

"Santa Land" is also a designated drop-off site for the Toys for Tots campaign, and participants are encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped toy to brighten a child's holiday.

"Year after year it is with great pleasure the Orchard Park Recreation department has the opportunity to collaborate with Erie County to provide 'Santa Land' as a fun, free, family event," Orchard Park Recreation Director Ed Leak said. "This fine tradition has allowed many parents who once enjoyed the event as a child themselves to start a new tradition with their own family. 'Santa Land' is another example of the public and private sector working together for the quality of life in Erie County."

In 2014, more than 4,500 families attended this two-day event, with nearly 1,700 children sitting on Santa's lap, over 2,200 marshmallows roasted, and 2,000 crafts made.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, visit http://www2.erie.gov/parks/.

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