December 8, 2021

Santa steals the show at CRT fundraiser

Children turn out for St. Nick

Joe McIntrye/staff photographer

Dexter Seamon, 5, of Cortland, gives Santa Claus a gift of his own on Saturday at Cortland Repertory Theatre’s Santa’s Winter Wonderland in Cortland.

Dozens of kids filled the lobby of the Cortland Repertory Theatre with their parents on Saturday, waiting to get inside. There were no performances.

The star didn’t have to sing. Or dance. Or even recite lines. He just had to sit and chat.

The star was Santa Claus at Santa’s Wonderland, in its third year at the theater.

“I asked for work boots, an MP3 player, a tablet and a guitar,” said 7-year-old Kevin Boughton. His 9-year-old sister, Jade, said she has a lot of things on her Christmas list, but asked Santa only for a jade rock. Two-year-old Bentley asked for toy tractors.

Robin Boughton of McGraw brought her three kids to see Santa after learning about the event on Facebook and thinking the kids would enjoy it.

In the main stage area, white lights hung from the ceiling and Christmas trees dotted the floor. Aside from photos with Santa, people could take photos next to a tower of presents, next to an old piano, on a couch underneath a disco ball and with their head in a picture frame.

Kayla Burnham of Cortland brought her two sons, Conner, 4, and Bentley, 3, out to see Santa and take other pictures around the theater. Both children had asked Santa for their own drone.

People could also get their face painted, munch cookies, do some Christmas coloring and make some Christmas crafts.

Guests were also treated to a halfhour of dance performances by Cortland Performing Arts Institute dance students. The dances were set to Christmas music, including songs from the “Nutcracker.”

Santa’s Wonderland is a fundraiser for the theater to put on summer camps for kids, like Showstars and Superstars and Stars of Tomorrow, weekend classes for kids over the winter and the Playmakers club. Kerby Thompson, the producing director for the theater, said the event usually raises about $1,000. The only pictures they were charging for were with Santa.

The event raised about $2,600 and was attended by about 400 people.

“We had 600 people last year,” Thompson said early in Saturday’s event.