Medina lights up community tree, celebrates long-time Mrs. Claus

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 December 2019 at 10:38 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Medina Mayor Mike Sidari, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Parade of Lights grand marshal Jackie DeHollander and parade chairman Jim Hancock pose for a quick picture before Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul gave the command to light the giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park on Saturday evening.

MEDINA – Being asked to be grand marshal in Saturday’s Parade of Lights was an honor, but very emotional, said Jackie DeHollander, as she waited in the Santa house in Rotary Park for the parade to begin.

Jackie spent many hours in the Santa house with her late husband Shelly as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Shelly, who died two years ago of lung cancer, had been Medina’s Santa for 50 years. Jackie was with him for 20 of those years.

“He loved the children,” Jackie said. “He once met a man with brain cancer and he went to his house and took him some books.”

Jackie DeHollander, grand marshal of Medina’s Parade of Lights on Saturday, stands by a figurine of the Kneeling Santa which she donated to Rotary Park in honor of her late husband, Shelly DeHollander, who was Medina’s Santa Claus for 50 years.

Jackie said she was apprehensive the first time Shelly wanted her to put on Mrs. Claus’ dress.

“I knew it wouldn’t fit, but it did fit perfectly,” she said. “Once I started, I loved it, and now I really miss it.”

Shelly was all about the true meaning of Christmas, and after his death Jackie donated a figurine in Rotary Park of Santa kneeling over the Baby Jesus in the Manger. The story is that Santa was sad because people had forgotten about Baby Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.

“I know Shelly would have wanted me to do it,” Jackie said.

The giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park is aglow after Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul gave the command to light the tree at 5:30 p.m., kicking off the fireworks and Parade of Lights.

At 5:30 p.m., the giant Christmas tree in Rotary Park was lit in a ceremony led by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Click here to see a video of the tree lighting.

Parade chairman Jim Hancock said he received a call from Hochul’s office saying she wanted to come to Medina for the Parade of Lights.

After remarks from Medina Mayor Mike Sidari, Hochul introduced Jackie and then gave the command to light the tree.

Hochul was checking out Creekside Florist as she waited to light the tree. She said she has been to Medina several times before and loves Medina. She arrived early and spent time in Medina, checking out the shops and Christmas specials, Hancock said.

Click here to see a video of the fireworks after the tree lighting.

The band Prime Time Brass from Rochester rehearses Christmas songs behind Rotary Park before playing in the park prior to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

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