Celebrity at the Local Ice Cream Stand

Saturday, May 24, 2014
I've talked in my blog before about photo excursions taking us to unexpected places, and across the paths of unexpected people.  Tonight was one of those occasions.   The clouds had parted and the sun was on its way to setting, so I suggested to John that we take a drive to the river hoping we might catch a pretty sunset.    Although the sky was pretty with wispy clouds which reflected nicely on the river, the sun had dipped behind some heavy  lower cloud cover so it looked as though a sunset wasn't in the cards tonight.  Since we were already out, I suggested a stop for soft ice cream at our favorite snack bar, Devoe's Rainbow Delights.  As we were about to park, I noticed a van next to us..........

MC - Merry Christmas

Not exactly what you'd expect to see on the 25th of May, nor was the man at the ice cream counter.....

Naturally I was curious about this Santa look-alike.......heck, he could have been the "real" Santa.  As you might expect, Santa drew a lot of attention from the evening ice cream crowd.  At one point he went to a van as it was leaving and visited with the passengers inside.  As he was about to finally get back into his vehicle (where Mrs. Claus had been patiently waiting for her celebrity husband to finish greeting his fans), I decided to introduce myself in hopes of getting to know this "Santa Claus".

It seems our Santa was Fred Clark, Sr, otherwise known as the Saratoga Santa.  Fred bears a striking resemblance to the real "Santa", don't you think?
He might even believe he "is" the real Santa.   After working for 31 yrs in the Saratoga School District, Fred now makes his livelihood lighting up the smiles of children and adults during the holidays - and beyond.  It was clear tonight that it doesn't matter what time of year it is, people, young and old, are excited when they see Santa Claus - especially at their local ice cream bar.  Mr. Claus was gracious and eager to share his stories and photos with us.  He actually had a photo album of himself and various children in his van, as well as business cards - both adult versions and some for kids too! 

    ............and the Kid card
 What a delight it was to meet this kind and generous man who spends his days making joy for believers, young and old.  Even though Mr. & Mrs. Claus had come to Devoe's for maple cream ice cream, which was last week's flavor of the week and no longer available, they visited with patrons and posed for pictures and graciously answered questions from the paparazzi (me).   One of the fun facts Santa shared with us was that he is one of 17 children - all born of the "same mother and father."   He was very proud of that and why wouldn't he be?   In a day of disposable marriages, a couple staying together after raising 17 kids is pretty remarkable.  How blessed I am to have happened upon such a special human being!   Once I got home, I googled 'Saratoga Santa'.  It seems Santa is pretty popular around these parts.  Some of you may have even run into him at the Victorian Stroll in Saratoga.  There are hundreds of images of him on the internet, an interview done by Time Warner Cable and articles of his appearances all over the area.  He's done commercials for Mohawk Honda and an upcoming commercial for Hoffman Car Wash.  Santa is available for hire at office parties, nursing home visits, schools, house calls and more.  I can imagine he keeps pretty busy since he's the best looking Santa I've ever seen and trust me, at my age, I've seen a lot.  It might be of interest to note that Saratoga Santa's career began when his wife convinced him to enter a "Santa-Look-Alike contest several years ago.   Goes to show, wives always know!  

My only disappointment was that we hadn't run into him there last week when we were there with Elena.  What a thrill that would have been!!  So next time you're inclined to stay home and veg in your recliner, consider getting out.  You never know who God has planned to be in your path.  It might even be Santa!

 These two images borrowed off the internet.

 And John with Santa.........

Thank you for allowing me to share by photos and thoughts with you!  And Have a Great Day!!!

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