In which Santa gets in shape ("round") for the upcoming festivities

This is no ordinary educational gathering.

These workshop attendees have very important work, and their busiest season is about to begin!

Gathering the Santas together
Jim has begun his journey as a real-bearded Santa, and came to the NORPAC Santa Workshop to learn from the masters.  You'd think that Santas would have a better term for that process, but they call it "emerging from the closet", which seems kind of odd.  I'm seeking a more accurate metaphor.  Suggestions, anyone?

Workshop topics include costuming, child-wrangling, and beard-care
as well as the business aspects of being a professional Santa

One of the traditional events at this workshop is a "flash-mob" at a local venue.  This year, the local Dairy Queen was treated by the Santas.

I think Santa Jim was feeling a little shy in his first public appearance with the Santas, but my camera and I finally tracked him down behind the big "Blizzard" sign.  (How appropriate!)

The weekend also featured a few photo ops for the experienced Santas who have spent many years (and buckets of money) collecting red garments for special occasions.
Santas and friends in their old-fashioned bathing costumes
pose inside the Great Wolf water park.
The small child attached herself to the group and refused to leave them.

The culminating exercise for the workshop weekend was the Grand Santa Parade through the middle of the Great Wolf Lodge (which is a huge kid-magnet location).

They tell people that only one of them is the real Santa, and the rest are
North Pole ambassadors...but they will never reveal which is which.

Santa Jim is in the center

After the parade, the Santas dispersed through the crowd, making sure that every kid who wanted a conversation with Santa got plenty of one-on-one time as well as a photo op...

This boy's mom was surprised to hear that he
hadn't been good...
but he didn't even try to lie to Santa Claus.

...even the (slightly) older kids.

I've been good!  Honest, Santa!


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