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Town Hall transformed into winter wonderland for Santa visit Dec. 9

Posted: November 17, 2017

by Kathleen Steele Gaivin


Santa Claus is coming to town. The jolly old elf is expected to visit the Sagamore Hills Town Hall at 11551 Valley View Rd. on Saturday, Dec. 9, from noon to 3 p.m., and all are welcome. 


For the third year in a row, residents Henry and Tina Rogusz will transform the Town Hall meeting room into a winter wonderland worthy of Old Saint Nick. The couple will display wooden nutcrackers, animated elves, festive lights and other decorations, both purchased and handmade, from their extensive collection to set the scene. 


According to Tina, Henry is the creative one in the family. He has a keen eye for detail. Henry’s full-time job is after-market custom car trim and painting. His work includes painting graphics, such as pin-striping and police decals. He’s been in business for 28 years.


Last year, Henry spent 3 1/2 months crafting a gingerbread house background and other props out of polystyrene foam insulation. Owens Corning in Tallmadge donated the material for the project. A company in North Carolina donated cotton batting that became “snow” for the village. 


This year promises to be even more magical. In addition to the gingerbread house and other props, foam snowflakes of various sizes will hang from the ceiling. Christmas trees cut out of foam will adorn the back glass doors of the town hall to block the outside world.


“The main part will be there, the main theme,” Tina said. “We wouldn’t discard and start over every year.” 


The Roguszes have been married for 44 years, and they have collected many treasures over the years. They’ve had nutcrackers and elves in the attic for years, Tina said, and have acquired other items at auctions. Two years ago, they approached trustees about sharing their decorations with the township.


It takes several days to get everything set up, even with the help of a couple of neighbors and members of the Sagamore Hills Police Department, who stop by when they can. Last year, they started working on a Monday and were finished by the weekend, adding final touches as the big day of Santa’s visit drew near. 


“We appreciate whatever time they can give,” Tina said.


During the off-season, Sagamore Hills Township stores some of the props while others get stored in the Roguszes’ barn. It’s just too much to keep all in one place.


For those who can’t make it to see Santa on Dec. 9, most items will remain on display until the end of the year, so people can visit the town hall during business hours any time in December. 

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