NORWICH — The Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) has partnered with Santa Claus to offer free holiday photos with pets at Santa's Igloo on Broad Street from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14 and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, December 17.
No appointments are necessary to get a picture taken with Santa. Norwich BID Administrator Tracey Chawgo said attendees can simply show up with their animals to snap a cute holiday photo.
"Everybody loves their pets. I know that Santa and the igloo has had a few people that have come in with their pets to take pictures, but this is just specifically kind of for the pets at this point," said Tracey. "We’re not going to make any appointments or anything, just show up and we’ll get your picture taken for you. We’re trying to make it as easy on everybody as we possibly can."
Although the BID facilitates photos with Santa and children every year, this is the first time an event specifically for pet photos has been scheduled. Plus, it's not just for cats and dogs, according to BID Board Member Mindy Chawgo. She said animals of all kinds are invited to meet Santa and take pictures.
"We've never done it before. But we had so many people asking about it, and if you don’t have children at home your pets are your children, so you want pictures with your pets year after year. So I think this will be our new tradition of doing little pet photos with Santa, and I think it’ll be a really fun family addition to it," she said.
"We actually got a phone call the other day that somebody is bringing their goats down. They’re going to truck down their little goats, because that’s their family."
Tracey said the event will be low key, and pet owners should bring a smartphone or camera to snap a picture. However, he said they will have a camera on hand for those who don't have one.
"Bring your own phone and we’ll take pictures with your phone for you. We don’t have a photographer there. It’s low key, but if they have a camera or want one of us to take a picture we can send it to them if they don’t have a phone," he said. "If they want to be in the picture with their pet or they just want their pet with Santa, we can oblige whatever they want to do."
Pet photos with Santa are completely free, but there will be an option to provide a donation, which will be given to the Chenango SPCA to assist with the cost of running the shelter and caring for the cats and dogs housed there.
Mindy said they anticipate Santa Pictures with Pets will continue to return each year, only adding to the litany of festive events that take place in downtown Norwich every holiday season.
"It’s a really good cause and it’ll be another really fun community event just to have together, and I think people are really going to appreciate it," she said. "We’re so excited about it. It should be a really fun addition to the holidays."
Aside from pet photos with Santa, area residents can also stop by Santa's Igloo from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays to get a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus, now until Christmas Eve.