Greenport’s iconic wooden Santa has been given a facelift thanks to students in Mrs. Baglivi’s art class and Mr. Davies’ shop class at Greenport School.
The Santa, which occupies a place of prominence every holiday season at Steamboat Corner in Greenport, has been a fixture in the village for nearly 60 years and was beginning to look his age.
“The paint was all peeling and the hand was falling apart,” said Baglivi.
Santa’s condition was brought to Baglivi’s attention by Kathy Hubbard, wife of Greenport’s mayor, who works at Greenport School.
“She approached me and asked if my students would be interested in rejuvenating Santa and we said, ‘Sure! We’d love to help.’”
The village delivered the Santa, which Baglivi estimates to be about 14 ft. tall, to Mr. Davies’ shop class where a new hand was cut and attached.
“It’s a little different from the original hand,” said Baglivi. “I’ve learned that it used to be the Santa that promoted Coca Cola soda and he was holding a Coke bottle in his hand. I didn’t know that until we’d cut a hand out that just waved ‘hi.’”
It took students in Baglivi’s high school art class about a week to fix up Santa’s paint, devoting a portion of their class time to the project until it was finished.
Santa made his debut in 1957, according to Greenport resident Joan Dinizio.
“From what I was told, it was constructed by Charles Bumble, Sr. and painted by Sherrill “Rip” Pemberton. It first appeared on the corner of Fourth and South Streets (where Layyah is now) in 1957,” said Dinizio.