By Lindsay Doty
Plopping little ones onto Santa’s lap for those magical moments and Christmas-card worthy pictures may not be an option for everyone in 2020 with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To still give kids a chance to see the man in red, the Red Curb Comedy Club in Avon is offering several pandemic-safe options to visit with Mr. Claus at its Avon Santa Shop, including personalized videos, a live Zoom chat with the man in red or a drive-thru visit.
“Even though traditional pictures on Santa’s lap weren’t in the cards this year due to COVID, we still wanted to be sure the kids in our community could get their time with Santa in a safe and fun way. Plus, Santa wanted that, too,” said Red Curb owner Will Pfaffenberger.
He and his wife Adrienne have run the Avon Santa Stop for two years at the club and didn’t want to give up on tradition. So, they got creative.
“We had the digital resources on hand and experience in production to offer some safe and innovative Santa options this year,” he said.
One of the options is a custom video where Santa delivers a personalized video message to the kids from his workshop. Santa records the videos on Sundays to be delivered no later than the following Monday via an email with a downloadable link to save for years to come.
The second option is a live Zoom call with the man in red on Sunday afternoons. Each call will last anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes where children (or adults) can ask questions, pass along wish lists and chat. Each call will be recorded so families can receive a link to download, save and share.
“We think the personalized videos and Zoom calls will be uniquely special and fun in a new way. Sure, no lap time this year, but families are going to receive some super neat video keepsakes they’ll be able to enjoy forever,” said Pfaffenberger.
If technology isn’t your thing, Red Curb will be hosting a drive-thru interactive Santa experience in front of the theater on Fridays and Saturday evenings in December.
Santa will be on a socially-distanced stage for families to roll down the car windows to have a quick chat or pop out for a fast elfie-selfie. Cost is $10 per car, and families can pay at the window or buy advanced tickets online.
“The reactions from the community so far have ranged from disappointment that we can’t do our traditional reserved photos with Santa event this year to really positive support for the thoughtfulness we’ve put into creating cool safe options for everyone to visit with Santa this year,” Pfaffenberger said.
The Red Curb Theatre, a performance space for improv-style comedy, has been closed since March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Owners say the space was not conducive to social distancing, and they didn’t’ feel that they could offer a comparable quality experience in masks, so they are waiting out the pandemic.
“Honestly, we’re barely hanging on as our only sources of revenue were ticket and concession sales, but we are finding just enough ways through fundraising and creating digital shows and podcasts,” he said.
Owners are encouraging residents to become online subscribers to keep the local comedy spot alive until they reopen. Visit http://patreon.com/redcurbcomedy
Red Curb’s Avon Santa Shop 2020 Options
Personalized Santa video:
Santa sends a custom video to kids that can be downloaded and shared.
Submit info online
Live Zoom chat with Santa:
The man in red will do a live Zoom call with the kids from his workshop to chat, go over wish lists and answer questions. Download link to save and share.
Reserve Zoom time or place video orders
Where: Red Curb Comedy Club, 8403 E. U.S. 36, Avon.
When: 6-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in December
Cost: $10 per car. Pay at the window or order online.