GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia Historical Society is featuring Mike Polcyn, the Gallipolis City Park Santa, on its Heritage series bulb this year.
According to Historical Society Facility Coordinator and volunteer Cheryl Enyart, in 1986, the society launched a series of Christmas bulbs in its Landmark series in order to help pay for the society’s operating expenses. This year, the historical society is launching its Heritage line which will feature area individuals and icons around Gallia County.
“Our first Heritage bulb is ‘Our Santa.’ After years of playing Santa in the park, we are featuring a classic picture of Our Santa from the Park, Michael Polcyn, who after years stepped down because of his health,” said Enyart. “Many children never ever knew anyone else as Santa, but Michael, he was Our Santa. Unfortunately, Michael passed away this past year, but not before being honored by many this past Christmas.”
According to previous Tribune reports, Polcyn first started his journey as a seasonal symbol of giving when his first-born was in kindergarten. The PTO needed a Santa to pass out treats and Polcyn agreed. The following year, Polcyn had his own suit and had grown a beard. Polcyn’s first appearance in the Gallipolis Christmas Parade started a years’ long tradition of Santa riding on a firetruck ladder, waving to families as he passed.
Polcyn survived heart complications and after being released from the hospital roughly 20 years ago, he persisted to return to City Park and sit as its Santa. He continued to do so until suffering a broken leg in 2016 which prevented him from returning. Polcyn served as the Santa in City Park for over 40 years.
In the society’s Landmark series, the Gallipolis City Park bandstand will be featured on its respective bulb. The bandstand was reportedly built in 1876, said Enyart, by the Stirling brothers as a memorial to Gallia Civil War veterans.
Bulbs are $20 and can be ordered through a form on the society’s Facebook page. For more information, call 740-446-7200.