Santapalooza collects donations for Greenwood Lake Food Pantry

GREENWOOD LAKE. Close to 50 people dressed in costumes and paddled along the lakeshore in the ninth annual event.

| 15 Dec 2022 | 12:50

Micki Lees, owner of Jersey Paddle Boards in Greenwood Lake, N.Y., grew up on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, where it was not unusual to see paddle boarders in Santa costumes this time of year.

When she opened her canoe and kayak rental business nearly 10 years ago, she decided to create Santapalooza, making the practice formal. The first year, two paddle boarders took part.

This year, 48 costumed people paddled boards or kayaks along the shore line for 1 1/2 hours Sunday, Dec. 4.

Twice that number had registered to participate Saturday, Dec. 3, but the event was postponed a day because rain and wind had made conditions unsafe.

All participants were asked to bring items for the Greenwood Lake Food Pantry, and the business also welcomed cash and food donations from the public.

“We did very well this year,” Lees said, adding that they dropped off about 11 big bags of food at the pantry.

The participants were required to wear wetsuits under their costumes and to have paddle boarding experience, she noted. Those with less experience were invited to ride in the two safety boats.

Jersey Paddle Boards closes when the water temperature drops into the 50s and reopens when it reached the 60s.