Local Santa helps keep things chill on The Polar Express

Local Santa helps keep things chill on The Polar Express

ScriptType | By Tess Wolfe, November 19, 2018

You don’t have to be a child to be caught up in the magic of the holiday season. As a volunteer for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Larry Csumitta has been an annual winter visitor to the North Pole – which looks a lot like the train depot in Peninsula – for eight years.

Csumitta, 67, and wife Joyce have lived in Independence for 30 years and raised their three sons through Independence Local Schools. Now retired, the U.S. Navy veteran boards The Polar Express train of the CVSR as Santa, in a suit that Joyce made by hand.

For his first three years as a holiday volunteer, Csumitta had been part of the annual train rides with Mr. Jingaling, the “Keeper of the Keys,” to Santa’s workshop before stepping into the role of the jolly old elf himself.

“I see the magic the kids have in their eyes, and I just think it’s neat,’’ Csumitta said. “I can see they believe and are enjoying the whole experience from the moment you open the door and jingle your sleigh bells. You can hear everybody say, ‘Santa is here!’ It’s really nice to know you’re making their holiday just the way you remember when you were a kid.”

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Katie Brewer

Katie Brewer