Santa is Headed to St. Marys

Teresa Dowling
Assistant Editor

With the jingle of sleigh bells and the clang of cowbells, Christmas will come to town on Sunday as the Cowbell Mafia brings Santa to Memorial Park from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for Christmas in the Park.

In its second year, Christmas in the Park will bring back some crowd favorites including pictures with Santa, crafts for kids and plenty of food — from hot chocolate and cookies to hot dogs, there will be plenty to fill tummies. Photos with the jolly elf will be taken by Lange Photography and are free with a donation of a new toy, child’s clothes or $5 monetary donation.

The 5x7 photos can be picked up at 2 p.m. on Dec. 15 at the Santa House in Memorial Park.

“We want to make it so every kid can have a Christmas present,” said Cowbell Mafia member Jason Lutz. 

The list, shared on the Cowbell Mafia’s Facebook page, is a guideline for the items requested by families in need but Lutz said just about any toy will be accepted.

Joining the Cowbell Mafia in spreading joy are students from St. Marys Memorial High School. Donating their time are students from Glitter & Gold and the school’s woodwind ensemble. The show choir starts the event off by greeting Santa with a song at 2 p.m. Later in the day, there will be caroling with the singers and community members coming together to sing. 

Along with the normal festivities, Christmas in the Park will be giving away four bicycles through a random drawing.

While Christmas in the Park is only two years old, the Cowbell Mafia has been collecting gifts for three years now.

“I just want to get people into the Christmas spirit,” Lutz said. “We would always go around the Saturday before Christmas in the back of trucks, singing and stopping by at random people’s houses to say hi and dropping off some candy so we figured we’d work more toward helping people.”

And help people they have. 

When Operation Christmas began, members were able to give presents to 23 children. One year later, that number doubled. This year, the Cowbell Mafia has increased its goal again, aiming to help bring the magic of Christmas to 50 local children.

After Sunday’s festivities, the Cowbell Mafia will be in charge of keeping Santa’s regular appearances in Memorial Park. Open on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting on Dec. 8, hours have yet to be posted for when St. Nick will be in St. Marys. 

“Santa’s last day will be Dec. 22,” Lutz said. “He needs a little time to head back to the North Pole and get those last minute orders in to the workshop.”