Santa Claus returns for 1st Saturday Downtown

Santa Claus is coming to town. Downtown to be exact.

He’s making his second appearance in downtown Claremore this Saturday as part of 1st Saturday Downtown, a monthly shopping event with great deals and usually a food truck or two.

While sales happen all day long, Santa will be greeting folks at the Will Rogers Hotel lobby for pictures between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Dec. 3.

“There’s nothing like the gleam in a child’s eye when he or she sees Santa or sits on his lap,” said Kathy Glover, the president of the downtown Merchants Group and owner of the Cozy Cottage, 518 W. Will Rogers Blvd. “That is what we want to bring to downtown this Saturday.”

Those who get their picture taken will have it printed off and ready to take home that day. Photos are $5 or $4 with a canned food item, which will be donated to the First United Methodist Church’s food pantry.
“The feel of a hometown Christmas is in all the wonderful shops main street has to over,” Glover said. “We want everybody to come see and feel the joys of Christmas during 1st Saturday Downtown and all season.”

Beginning at 12:30 p.m. in the RCB Drive Thru, the food truck Jeremiah’s: a Café of Hope will be set up. Jeremiah’s is a local truck with the mission to serve the people of Claremore as a ministry.

Many downtown stores participate in 1st Saturday Downtown with giveaways or discounts.

“This Saturday provides a perfect opportunity to get some of you holiday shopping in,” said Jessica Jackson, director of Claremore Main Street. “We such a variety of stores downtown, you’re bound to find something for everyone on your list. There’s no better time to get in the Christmas spirit!”

1st Saturday Downtown is the first Saturday of every month. In January, 1st Saturday Downtown will be paired with the district’s newest event, Souper Saturday, a soup-tasting fun-shopping experience.

Santa previously came to downtown Claremore during Dickens on the Boulevard on Nov. 18-19. Photos from that event are available here.

NEW BUSINESS: Lifelong passion turns into retirement plan

​In the summer of 1972, two boys gathered 25 cents each and headed to the store. The goal was to pick up a package of baseball cards and begin the long tradition of trading and collecting.

From that moment on, baseball card trading became a way of life for young Steve St. John and his brother.

“That just kind of got me hooked,” Steve explained. “I remember my first comic book that got me hooked was Inferior Five, No. 10.”

Still passionate about both comic books and sports cards, Steve recently opened Mad Dog’s Emporium, 103 N. Cherokee, in downtown Claremore.

The store has a variety of items, including new and back issues of comic books, baseball and football cards as well as a few basketball and non-sports cards and vintage video games and systems.

A 34-year computer program teacher at Tulsa Community College and Rogers State University, Steve retired in June and immediately began looking for his next project.
It didn’t take him long to decide he’d fulfill his lifelong dream of combining his passions and opening a comic book and trading card store. Within five months, Mad Dog’s opened.

“This is something I’ve been wanting to do my whole life,” he said. “I started collecting when I was a kid, and I just really wanted to open a store for the longest time and the opportunity came around.”

When it came time to name the store, Steve and his daughters looked back on a conversation from many moons back.

“Years ago, my wife and I … we were talking about what we would want our grandkids to call us,” he said. “I said, ‘you know, I want something different than the generic stuff grandpa’s get called, so I think I’ll have the kids call me Mad Dog.’ It just kind of became a joke.”

Steve said his favorite part of owning the store is interacting with the customers.

“They come in and tell me their stories about the stuff they have or used to have,” he said. “It’s just cool to get to talk to people who live in this same town and have the same passions as I do.”

Mad Dog’s Emporium is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit Mad Dog’s on Facebook!