Bancroft Santa: $10 fee now for visit, photo

       The long-time tradition of Santa Claus in the historic Bancroft Park cabin will resume Nov. 29 and continue on weekend afternoons until Christmas (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), but there's a difference this year:
       Seeing Santa is no longer free.
       The cost per visit, including a photo with Santa, will be $10. Previously, there was no charge, but an optional photo was available at a cost.
       The change resulted from a recent vote by the board of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group.
       OCCA President Julie Fabrizio said it wasn't an easy decision and acknowledged that some people who've traditionally brought their kids to see Santa in the cabin may be disappointed. However, she said board members felt it was needed after a couple of incidents last year when - even though Santa's schedule was known - people who had been waiting in line with their children got angry after being told that his time for the day was up.
       “We honestly didn't know what to do,” Fabrizio said of the board's action. “We wrestled around with it so much.”
       Ironically, Fabrizio believes that the lines of people were a result of the Old Colorado City Santa being “so great” at his job.
       According to Pam Gres-sett, who organizes the OCCA's Christmas promotions, 5,500 people visited last year. “Supply and demand called for it [charging a fee]. We even had a couple of fights break out.”
       Speaking to the plus side of the change, Fabrizio pointed out that some people in the past have actually expected to pay for the Santa visit; also, that many parents like having professional photos of their children when they visit Santa and “our pictures are still very inexpensive compared to the mall Santas.”
       The payments will help defray the OCCA's Santa-related costs. “Everything has gone sky high,” Fabrizio said.

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