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Senior Lifestyles

Local Santa enjoys playing part

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

David Brumagin has enjoyed a second career of playing Santa Claus for more than 30 years.
Photo courtesy of Todd Kaminski/Maguire Photo
BARBERTON — David Brumagin is playing Santa Claus for a second generation of wide-eyed children.

The 79-year-old isn’t sure how long it’s been that he’s been donning the iconic red suit but said it’s been well over 30 years.

The former Barberton High School English teacher said he first started playing Santa when a former student who played the part asked him to do it on Christmas Eve one year.

“I still have the old suit he gave me,” said Brumagin, who also has three other Santa suits.

Today, Brumagin has two younger Santas who help him out during the Christmas season. He said the number of appearances he makes every year changes.

“We do as many as 40 a year,” he said.

His season this year started the first weekend on November, but he’s also made appearances in the summertime for special events. One of his longtime local appearances is at Fairlawn Country Club, he said.

The busiest day, Brumagin said, is Christmas Eve, when he and his two helpers each make about four or five visits.

“Last year I did one at 11 p.m.,” he said. “I had visited the mother years ago and she remembered how much fun she had with it, and she has a son now, so she invited me back. When the child is asleep, I come in the house, and they bring the child down to visit with Santa. Then they put the child back to sleep again. It’s fun.”

Brumagin said he likes having a conversation with his young fans.

“When you get a child on your lap, you have to start doing the talking,” he said. “I’ll ask, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ or ‘Who are your best friends in school?’ If it’s an older child, I might say, ‘Any good looking girls in your class?’”

He doesn’t like to make promises about gifts that are wished for.

“It’s always easy to say something like ‘That’s possible, but we have to talk with mom and dad and see if it’s alright,’ or ‘This is a hard request. Santa could get in real trouble,’” he said.

He also recalls there have been a few times when parents asked him to help end a child’s bad habit.

“Years ago, a mother told me that ‘Sally’ would hide her dirty underwear underneath the bed and she needed to stop, so Santa pulled that on her,” he said. “Boy, was she embarrassed. It worked.”

Another story he tells is that of a young child who refused to give up her pacifiers. She was told that Santa needed to take the pacifiers and she willingly obliged, even running after him when he left to give him an additional one she found.

Brumagin said he doesn’t plan to hang up his Santa hat and beard any time soon.

“It’s fun,” he said.

To book Brumagin or one of his helpers, call 330-706-0606.

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