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Santas, spouses accept Lemons for Leukemia challenge (VIDEO)

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    More than 60 Santas and Mrs. Clauses suck on lemon slices Saturday outside Castle Noel in Medina. They were taking part in the Lemons for Leukemia Challenge, which raises awareness of the importance of bone marrow transplants for leukemia patients.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Wayne and Margie Wolczak, portraying Santa and Mrs. Claus, drove from Lafayette, Ind., to take part in Santa Day in Medina.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Christmas cookies are spread out for children Saturday during Santa Day at Castle Noel in Medina.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Tom and Gurda Shilling of New Philadelphia are among several Santas and Mrs. Clauses on Saturday at Castle Noel in Medina.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Abby Damico, 5, left, and her sister, Charlotte, 2, try a coloring contest Saturday at Castle Noel. Coaching the Liverpool Township girls is mom Nicole.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Emma Gilbert, 7, of Seville, has her face painted by volunteer Emma Wasyluk on Saturday at Castle Noel in Medina. Emma Gilbert was there with her father, Ryan.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Liam Fidel, 5, of Akron, decorates a cookie with icing Saturday with his dad, Josh, outside Castle Noel in Medina.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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    Wyatt Lemasters, 6, of Medina, adds drops of water to a magical substance to make snow Saturday at Castle Noel in Medina. Mom Shelly captured it all on cell-phone video.

    BOB SANDRICK / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — Visitors might have been a little perplexed late Saturday morning by the dozens of Santas and Mrs. Clauses sucking lemon slices on South Court Street.

Then again, it shouldn’t have been too strange a sight, because they were standing outside Castle Noel, the year-round Christmas museum.

The Santas and their spouses had gathered from all over Ohio, and some from outside the state, to participate in the Lemons for Leukemia Challenge, which is raising awareness on social media of the importance of bone marrow transplants for leukemia patients.

Castle Noel aimed to set a record for the most Santas and Mrs. Clauses sucking on lemons for the cause.

“We brought about 65 Santas from all over the country to set the record, and to bring joy to all the kids,” said Dana Klaus of Castle Noel.

The leukemia challenge was just one part of Santa Day on Saturday in Medina. The celebration, organized by Castle Noel, kicked off with a parade of Santas around Public Square. Also, shoppers, in a scavenger hunt, searched for hidden elves in stores throughout the Historic District.

At Castle Noel, children took part in face-painting, cookie-decorating, a coloring contest and even mini science experiments.

Santa and Mrs. Claus read the kids a story and led them in a sing-along. Children also had their pictures taken with Santa, took an elf pledge and played miniature golf.

One of the visiting Claus couples was Wayne and Margie Wolczak, who drove 5ᄑ hours from Lafayette, Ind.

“We love Castle Noel,” Wayne Wolczak said. “The interaction with the children in the park during the parade was amazing. Their Christmas spirit came alive in May.”

Also portraying Santa and Mrs. Claus were Tom and Gurda Shilling of New Philadelphia. They learned about Santa Day through The Buckeye Santas, a group headquartered in Columbus.

“We have Santas all over the state,” Tom Shilling said.

The Santa subculture is more extensive than most people may realize. The Shillings said they will cruise to the Caribbean with a group called the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas.

Also, the Shillings are planning a visit to A Christmas Story House & Museum in Cleveland this summer to take part in a Christmas in July event.

Messages may be left for Bob Sandrick at (330) 721-4060.
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