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Sorry, Rudolph and gang, Santa Claus doesn't need you anymore.

The jolly old elf will dash away to the top of the roof via helicopter at the Greater Lewiston Business and Professional Association's 37th annual Christmas Walk in the village this weekend.

"We've been involved with the Santa drop, or I should say 'the Santa set-down,' since 1996," said Patrick Proctor, Rainbow Air manager. "The kids love it, and each year the crowds get bigger and bigger."

Santa is back in the air after three years without a helicopter, said Sandra Hays-Mies, Greater Lewiston Business and Professional Association executive director. She said helicopter landings had been stopped three years ago, in the aftermath of 9/1 1.

"Niagara Falls and Lewiston airspace is pretty secure now," Proctor said. "Airspace is always safe when Santa is in the air."

Santa is expected to make his long-awaited landing at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Academy Park on Center Street.

The streets of the village will have a decidedly old-fashioned feel, with one-horse open sleighs, chestnuts roasting on open fires, artificial candlelight and strolling musicians. Area shops and restaurants will be open in the evenings Friday, Saturday and next Sunday, with complimentary refreshments.

The Christmas Walk begins with the HSBC kickoff celebration from noon to 3 p.m. Friday on Center Street. Events continue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with crafts, wine tastings, art shows, gifts, open houses and live music.

The Santa landing Saturday is sponsored by Rainbow Air and Villa Fortunata's restaurant. Santa, in the person of Town Justice Hugh Gee, will board his sleigh and join in a Christmas parade down a candlelit Center Street to Hennepin Park at Center and Fourth streets, for the lighting of the village Christmas tree.

The parade will be led by Zapazoo, a small Niagara Falls marching band whose members cover themselves and their instruments with lights. Historic Lewiston characters, portrayed by local residents, also will join the parade. A reception follows in the parish hall of St. Peter's Catholic Church, with refreshments and a performance by the Sanborn Band.

Also offered is an open house and fine arts sale and show at the new Lewiston Art Center from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the Lewiston Council on the Arts, 475 Center St.

A list of events is available online at


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