‘World Famous’ Santa Claus Training School Began In CNY
In 1937 the world famous Santa Claus School opened. You could get a B.S.C. (Bachelor of Santa Claus) degree at the school for $75. It was the first of it's kind and today is the oldest continuously-run Santa school in the world.
From 1948 to 1965, he was the featured Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Wikipedia says Charles Howard was born in Albion NY and first played Santa Claus in the 4th grade. As he and his reputation grew he soon became one of the most sought-after Santas in the area, and then the whole nation. From 1948 to 1965, he was the featured Santa Claus in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Howard started his Santa school in 1937 teaching classes out of his home (pictured above) until 1940 when he opened Christmas Park. The park was an attraction with three rides and a petting zoo for children where new Santas could get practice interacting with the kids. It attracted 80,000 visitors yearly at its peak and closed in the 1960's.
Today, the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School continues running in Midland, Michigan, under Tom and Holly Valent, who have portrayed Santa and Mrs. Claus for over thirty years.