Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

Stories You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

Tiger Times

May 22, 2024

Santa, Smiles, and Snow


As the sparkling lights flicker on, and the night snow begins to melt, laughter and smiles can be heard down the hallway as Santa makes his first appearance at Santa’s Workshop at the Community Center on December 9th. 


Every year, the town of Erie has hosted a “Santa’s Workshop” where children and residents of all ages are invited to a breakfast and interactive event with Santa. This event has three sessions, each of them an hour and fifteen minutes long. Guests are welcomed with an amazing breakfast including fruit cups, egg bites, and beverage of their choice as well as activities such as coloring sheets and cookie decorating at their tables. 


Santa’s workshop has become an annual event at Erie, bringing smiles and laughter to everyone in the building. Special Events Coordinator for the Community Center and lead organizer for this event, Brandon Grasmick says, “We wanted to offer kind of a low key atmosphere for people and kiddos wanting to meet with Santa,” he adds, “Instead of waiting in line at a mall or something for a long period of time and taking one picture, we wanted to do a full interactive experience.” 


It takes a lot of time and energy for an event of this caliber to run smoothly, as small details make this event a timeless experience for everyone attending. Grasmick explains, “We always do our event planning from December to February, whether it be booking Santa or putting out bands for concerts.” 


This year, the Rotary Club provided a hot breakfast to help warm up guests from the chilly weather. Lew Miller, who has been an active member in Rotary Club for 47 years and counting, was in charge of supplying the food for this event. Rotary club is an international organization that has more than 4 million members. Rotarians help fund and support global issues such as water conservation, eradication of polio, and women’s health initiatives, “We work with conservationists to make the country and the world a better place to live in,” Miller explains.


He looks back on past experiences with this event, reminiscing on the very first breakfast organized and how it progressed into what it is now, “We had pancake batter all over everything…So last year, we did the Jimmy Dean Sausage sandwich, and this year we’re doing egg bites, little egg omelets.” 


Despite all of this meticulous planning and attention to detail, it all becomes worth it in the end, as sponsors and organizers have the pleasure of making guests smile and laugh. Miller takes special pride in providing this breakfast for guests, because it allows him to connect to the community better, “We get to meet a lot of kids and put smiles on their faces. We also get to meet with the families and the moms and dads and tell them our mission of rotary and what we do.” 


Erie’s very own Santa Claus says it’s one of his favorite parts of this time of year, “My favorite part of being Santa once a year is seeing the smiles and laughs and the happiness on children’s faces.” He follows this with, “When I was younger I never saw Santa. So this is really special for me.”


Santa has been coming to Erie for around 5 years now, but his role as Santa started way before, when his “elves” were kids themselves. He first began the role of “Santa” when his children were in primary school, around 1982, and has continued the role every year since then. He said that he never told his “elves” that he was Santa, and that was what made it so fun for him to come and visit them every year, “They never guessed it and we never told them, that was very special to me.” 


It takes a lot to create this character and build this type of bond with members of the community, especially when you see them only once a year. However, this never deterred Santa from taking on this role, “The motivation is just what you want to do and what you want to bring into people’s lives, happiness, smiles, laughter.” 


Finally, as Christmas approaches and Santa begins his trip to deliver presents, he has one final thing to say to the community, “My pleasure is being out there for the community and for the world. I want to see happiness in the whole world.”

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About the Contributor
Claire Nguyen
Claire Nguyen, Staff Reporter
Claire Nguyen is a sophomore at Erie High School. This is her first year in ETN, and is very excited to begin writing for the news! She is the Deputy General of Model UN, and a player/manager for the tennis team. In the future,  she hopes to continue her education and become a lawyer.

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