Santas make way to Albion for their convention

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Elk’s Club transformed into Santa exhibition hall

Photos by Tom Rivers
ALBION – Tom Cortemeglia and his wife Janiece are pictured inside the Albion Elk’s Club on West State Street today.

They are owners of Santas Claus’et, and they sell lots of T-shirts with Santa themes and other merchandise.

Today is the start of the Charles W. Howard Legendary Santa Claus Conference, which runs until Sunday. About 250 Santas will be in town for the event.

Cortemeglia made the trip from Nashville, Tenn. He has attended the Charles W. Howard Santa School four times. It is now in Michigan. Howard, an Albion native, ran the school locally from 1937 until his death in 1966.

Some of the Santas are wearing patches that show Charlie Howard in one of his classic Santa poses.

“The Charles Howard School is the best,” Cortemeglia said. “You develop a camraderie with people.”

Howard developed standards for Santa’s dress and how he should interract with children. Those principles continue to be taught today.

“If it hadn’t been for Charlie Howard, a lot of us wouldn’t be doing a good job as Santa,” Cortemeglia said.

The Elk’s Club on West State Street has been turned into an exhibition hall for Santa Claus merchandise and Santa clothing, including hats, boots, bells and other useful items for the Jolly Ole’ Elf.

About 250 Santas will be in town the next few days. Many of them will be at a meet and greet 7 p.m. today at Fair Haven Treasures, 14386 Ridge Rd. The public is welcome to come and meet the Santas this evening and also meet many of the Santas at the exhibition hall at the Elk’s.

They will be at the Elk’s Club on Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They will have their ceremonies and program on Friday and Saturday evenings at the Albion Middle School Auditorium.

Dale Nowak prepares a display of clothing inside the Elk’s Club. Nowak and his wife, Sherri Heath, sell custom designed clothes for Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves. The couple is from Mountrose, Mich.

There are many Christmas-themed patches and other merchandise for sale.

Santa can stock up on new boots and belts from this vendor.

This vendor is selling new bells and other Santa merchandise.