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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Doing right by the kids

Fun-filled day in Monticello

By Eli Ruiz - staff writer

By: Eli Ruiz | Democrat
Three-year-old A'mayia Corbett loved the milk-jug-fashioned igloo at the Village of Monticello/Boys and Girls Clubs “Holiday Celebration” for area children.
MONTICELLO — Monticello's Ted Stroebele Recreation Center was transformed into a winter wonderland Sunday afternoon and into the evening, as the village, in conjunction with the local chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs, put on a Holiday Celebration for area youngsters, and boy was it a success.
More than 500 packed the Center on Jefferson Street between 2:30 and 5 p.m, when another surprise for the kids arrived: The beloved Santa Express!
Hundreds of children and their parents huddled in the cold, lining Jefferson Street, which was closed to normal traffic by the Monticello Police Department, to catch a glimpse of St. Nick, Mrs. Claus and their many helpers. Many of the youngsters in attendance also got to take pictures with Mr.
and Mrs. Claus, some even personally asking Santa to make their 2014 Christmas wish come true.
“It's very gratifying to see the community come together like this for something so positive,” said Corby Coney of Monticello, who was in attendance with his daughter Kailey, 8, and girlfriend Dawn-Marie Brackett, also of Monticello. “It was absolutely a delight to see the hundreds of happy, smiling kids... it was also heartwarming to see ‘Santa' do so much for the community that is Sullivan County.”
Lou Monteleone, who's in his 10th year putting on the Santa Express, said, “This is just the second year we've done it in Monticello, last year being the first, and I have to be honest, I didn't expect such a large crowd... It was just beautiful to see. It was amazing… so much larger than I expected.”
This year's Santa Express slate started over Thanksgiving weekend in Port Jervis with Monteleone, and as he put it, “My 15 to 16 selfless volunteers.”
The 50-foot lighted musical sled has since wound its way through Eldred, Yulan, Glen Spey, Bethel, Liberty, Monticello and South Fallsburg.
“You really just never know what to expect anywhere you go, but fortunately this season we've had amazing turnouts everywhere we've been,” added Monteleone. “This is not about me or the folks who do this with me… this is about creating everlasting memories for the kids. That's what it's all about.”

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