Santa's Workshop

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    Vernon Phillips of Gouverneur, New York stood by the fire at SantaÕs Candy Castle at the close of the Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop that took place March. 22nd - 25th in Santa Claus, Indiana. Nearly 400 Santas from around the country attended with even a few international ones. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Tom Carmody of Denver, Colo., left, Don White of Orange County, Calif., and Paul Raines of Phoenix unpacked their car after arriving at SantaÕs Lodge in Santa Claus on March 22 for the workshop. Even in casual attire, Santas at the workshop generally wore red clothing and matching accessories with a Christmas theme. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Dressed as Mrs. Claus, Bonnie Claus-Felten of La Crosse, Wis., second from left, orchestrated her elf puppet, Edna Jane, to Bonnie Phillips of Gouverneur, N.Y., left, Michele Owens of Nashville, Tenn., and BonnieÕs husband, Vernon, as they finished breakfast at the SantaÕs Lodge restaurant March 24. Wives of Santas sometimes take on the role of Mrs. Claus alongside their husbands. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Denzil Beeson of Augusta, Ga., winced as his wife, Deborah, pulled out his hair curlers as part of a demonstration at the Jim Yellig Santa Claus Workshop on March 24. Beeson has been a Santa for 11 years in Georgia, where he is part of the Central Savannah River Area Santas. When not working as Santa, Beeson has worked at the Resolute Forest Products paper mill in Augusta for the past 30 years. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Santa Ronnie McDougal of North Little Rock, Ark., second from right, stepped in with The Dallas Cole Band to play guitar for the song ÒJohnny B. GoodeÓ at American Legion Post 242 in Santa Claus, where McDougal and other Santas from the workshop went to relax the night of March 24. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Tom Carmody of Denver, Colo., left, Paul Raines of Phoenix and Ron Robertson of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., laughed with one another as they relaxed in the hot tub at SantaÕs Lodge in Santa Claus after they checked into their rooms March 22. All three Santas are members of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas. Many organizations such as theirs have popped up within the Santa community to allow Santas from similar areas or with similar interests to find camaraderie and support with each other. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Cliff Snider of High Point, N.C., shopped for a few snacks at Holiday Foods in Santa Claus during a break in the workshop March 23. Snider was inducted into the Santa Hall of Fame in Santa Claus two days later as part of the 2013 class. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Santa Claus Oath Foundation Awards sat ready for their recipients backstage at the Heritage Hills High School auditorium March 25. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Dennis Pollard of Gainesville, Fla., held his candy cane at attention as he prepared to walk onstage with The Palm Tree Santa Drill Team as the group performed its duties during the workshop program and awards ceremony March 25 at Heritage Hills High School. The drill team includes veterans from all military branches, although being a veteran is not required for becoming a member. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Ron Halderman of Erlanger, Ky., left, had his face carved out of a log by Willy Loper of Grandview outside SantaÕs Candy Castle in Santa Claus on March 23. Halderman paid $75 for the carving. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Julia Simmons of Ennice, N.C. received the blessing of manna from St. NicholasÕ tomb brought in from Bari, Italy, by Father Joseph Marquis of Livonia, Mich., right, during the ecumenical service at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Santa Claus on March 24. SimmonsÕ husband, Sam, also received the blessing. ÒIt meant a lot to Sam and I to receive that blessing together,Ó Julia said. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Paul Raines of Phoenix relaxed on his bed at SantaÕs Lodge while he called a friend to see if they wanted to go to the hot tub the evening of March 22 after their travels. Matthew Busch/The Herald

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    Paul Raines of Phoenix, left, Tom Carmody of Denver, Colo., Tom Pellitieri of Toledo, Ohio, Ross Tarr of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Jacob Kujath of Saint Louis, 12, all sat around the campfire at SantaÕs Candy Castle the night of March 25 at the end of the workshop to share stories and visit one last time before their departures the next day. Matthew Busch/The Herald