by Susan Mikula Campbell
Paul and Jan DePlato of Bergholz once again are offering a chance to see one of the area's largest Christmas displays, with an added bonus: a visit with Santa.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, children can visit individually with Santa in front of the DePlato house at 2430 Washington St. Bring your camera.
Last year, 130 children stopped by to see Santa, who has been working this particular gig for 10 years.
The lights display at the house is even older.
"The decorating started when we moved in 35 years ago, with lights in one tree," Paul DePlato said. "My wife will tell you it's now gotten out of control."
Putting up the display, which is changed up and added to every year, now takes about 130 hours of work. New this year is a soundtrack to go with the lights.
"But it's my hobby," said DePlato, a retired banker, who is not interested in playing golf and now drives a school bus (Starpoint and Lockport) because he enjoys being around kids.
His own children are grown, but he has six grandchildren. He's especially looking forward to showing the display for the first time to his 3-year-old granddaughter from Jacksonville, Fla., this year.
"I have always loved Christmas ... My whole family loves Christmas," DePlato said.
Directions to the DePlato home are:
From Niagara Falls on Niagara Falls Boulevard: Pass the airport and the Bell plant. Turn left at the Five Corners light onto Niagara Road and go a half mile. Turn left on Schultz Street and go one block. Turn right on Washington Street and go to the third house on the right.
From the North Tonawanda area on Niagara Falls Boulevard: Turn right on Ward Road (Route 429) and go 11/2 miles. Turn left on Niagara Road and go 1 mile. Turn right on Rohr Street and go one block. Turn left on Washington Street and go to the first house on the left.
Coming westbound on Lockport Road: Turn left on Ward Road and go one mile. Turn right on Niagara Road and go one mile. Turn right on Rohr Street and go one block. Turn left on Washington Street and go to the first house on the left.