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  • Writer's pictureElaine Berberich

St. Nicholas aka Sam Curry carries on the tradition

One of the most beloved traditions at the Fairfield Harbour Christmas parade is the appearance of St. Nicholas, played by Sam Curry. Sam has been playing St. Nicholas ever since most residents can remember, and before that, he had been in the parade as a member of the Broken Paddle Coffee Klatch and as a member of Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club. This year, as in previous years, before riding in the FH parade, Sam visited the children at Christ Episcopal Church, where the tradition of his visits began.

Sam started portraying St. Nicholas at Christ Episcopal Church in downtown New Bern by visiting each service during the Christmas season.

During the children's sermon, Sam told the history of St. Nicholas. Sam shared that the most enjoyable part of portraying St. Nicholas is seeing the smiling and curious faces of the young children.

Prior to coming to New Bern, Sam was Santa several times at his church in Pittsburgh, but it was not until New Bern that St. Nicholas "arrived."

The costume that he wears every year also has a history. A member of Christ Episcopal Church made the costume, Delle Curry made his miter (headdress), and Sam completed his crosier (walking staff).

Saint Nicholas Feast Day is December 6, which is very close to the timing of the FH parade, so it is very appropriate for St. Nicholas to make an appearance. Feast Day is celebrated in many countries, and the legend has evolved into many different characters, including Santa Claus. Living around 300 AD in Turkey, Nicholas of Myra had very wealthy parents who died when he was a young boy.

Saint Nicholas used his inheritance to help the poor and needy and was known to secretly toss gold coins through open windows into stockings hung by the fire to dry. He also saved sailors who were in danger on the seas.

Because of his good deeds and faithfulness to God, he was made a priest and bishop. After his death, St. Nicholas was made a saint.

Sam was raised in the Philadelphia suburbs and graduated from Penn State in Business Logistics. After graduation, he attended Navy Officer Candidate School and served out of Norfolk and San Francisco. He then worked for US Steel for 31 years.

After retiring, the Currys yearned for warmer weather and wanted to be near the water to enjoy their boating passion. After some research, they settled on New Bern, where Delle and Sam have been for 23 years. They have been married for 58 years and have two sons and three grandchildren. They have kept busy sailing for 15 years and volunteering at Christ Church, Tryon Palace, and the Fireman's Museum. Sam has worked part-time for SOS Global Express, a freight forwarder headquartered in New Bern, for 20 years, doing insurance and claims settlement.

Sam related, "despite being out of our house for a year from Hurricane Florence, we could not think of a place we would rather live, so we are here for the duration.”

St. Nicholas (aka Sam), the Fairfield Harbour community, is glad you are here as well, and we look forward to more years of St. Nicholas.
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