Santa statue installed in Albion but will be covered up until June 10 dedication

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 June 2023 at 8:29 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The Albion Department of Public Works this morning installed a 6-foot bronze statue weighing about 450 pounds.

The statue bears the likeness of the late Charles W. Howard in a Santa suit.

The top photo shows sculptor Brian Porter, right, exclaiming when seeing the statue set on a concrete pad at Waterman Park, a site on Main Street a half block south of the Erie Canal.

Scott Bradshaw, in orange shirt, and Charlie Ricci of the DPW give the statue a close inspection after getting it to set securely on the concrete with some epoxy. DPW workers Shaun Stephens and Vance VanSkiver also were part of the installation this morning.

The Albion Betterment Committee raised more than $80,000 for the project over about a decade. Gary Kent, in back left, was up early to see the installation. He is one of the directors of the Betterment Committee.

Kent said he is pleased with how the statue turned out, and is happy it highlights a beloved person in Albion’s history. Kent believes the community’s history – with people, architecture and many treasured stories – should be part of moving Albion forward right now.

Howard ran a Santa School in Albion from 1937 until his death in 1966. He also developed Christmas Park which attracted thousands to Albion and had live reindeer and many amusement rides.

The statue was covered up after it was installed. The Orleans Hub isn’t showing any photos of the front of the statue until after the statue is dedicated during a ceremony on June 10 after the Strawberry Festival Parade at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Porter said the statue is at ground level, and in human size so it shouldn’t intimidate children and will be easy for people to interact with and get photos. A 24-foot-long Santa mural is next to the statue on the north side providing a striking backdrop, Porter said. He worked about 18 months on creating the statue.