Huge Crowd Lines Santa Claus Lane
DANIEL LEBLANC, Olean Times Herald – 11/30/2006
OLEAN — Parade-goers were treated to dogs, horses, music, a giant squirrel, several manger scenes, the Flintstones, the Grinch and yes, even Santa and Mrs. Claus Friday evening during the Santa Claus Lane parade. Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce officials said 51 floats and more than 1,050 adults and children took part in the parade. Floats with varying themes slowly moved down Union Street in the annual parade. Many families with small children strained to see the floats as they passed by, some being hoisted on their father’s shoulders to get a better view.
The kids waved flags, held inflatable balloons and wore layers of clothing on the brisk night. While the parade floats were entertaining, many of the younger kids said they were waiting for the man and woman in red at the end of the parade. Corry Johnston, age 6, of Olean, said he was excited when Santa turned on the lights at Lincoln Park. 5-year-old Alyssa Kear of Wellsville said after thinking for a moment, that her favorite part was when Santa waved at her. “I like Santa,” she said. Her 4-year-old brother, Hunter, said without hesitation, “I liked the fireworks.” Kaitlin Field, 9, of Olean, had a different perspective on the parade. She was part of the Girl Scouts float, wearing a large snowflake cutout around her neck. Cynics might have been inclined to say the city was going to the dogs, judging by what they saw during the parade. There was no shortage of canines in the parade, with organizations such as the Cattaraugus County SPCA, the Joyful Rescue organization and Guiding Eyes for the Blind walking many dogs down the center of the street.
Some allowed the dogs to stop along the way for children to pet them. Other floats featured horses pulling wagon and carriages, and a group of motorcyclists brought the decibel level up as they passed down the street. The true meaning of Christmas was represented by several churches which placed the manger scene on floats. The First Baptist Church, area Catholic Churches and Central Baptist Church, were among those with religious messages. The Mt. Zion Christian Assembly also had a unique float portraying a globe with three girls singing songs.