When Christmas approaches, Cathy Erickson adds yet another hat – as one of Santa’s helpers.
Erickson, vice president of Laham Development, oversees Bradley Fair and is involved in the company’s operations, marketing and development. The shopping center at 21st and Rock will have its annual Christmas tree lighting from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, with photos with Santa to benefit Ronald McDonald House and free horse-drawn carriage rides from 6 to 10 p.m. Free carriage rides will continue on Fridays and Saturdays, from 6 to 10 p.m., through Dec. 21.
She has three children and a grandchild. She has lived in Wichita for 20 years and has worked for developer George Laham for 17 years.
Q. 1 What’s so Christmas-y about Bradley Fair?
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A. There are over six miles of lights; that’s 20,000 lights. … We have a full-time staff and they are all over it during the holidays to make sure we don’t have any lights out. They start working on the lights in October to make sure the wires are tight and the bulbs are lit and that everything works like it should.
Q. 2 How popular are the carriage rides?
A. We have four or five carriages out there, and we try to keep the line short, but if the weather’s good, it gets busy. Last year we had about 6,000 people ride them.
Q. 3 Why the Christmas events?
A. We have developed those through the years as our way of giving back to the community because it is the community that makes it possible to bring in the retailers that we have. It’s our way of saying thanks.
Q. 4 What’s your favorite single item for sale at Bradley Fair?
A. Probably chocolate from Cocoa Dolce. I like the gray salt caramel, dark chocolate with a little bit of gray salt on the top and caramel. It’s yummy.
Q. 5 Is it starting to feel a lot like Christmas for you?
A. When you are surrounded by Christmas, which we have been at Bradley Fair for the last few weeks, it’s hard not to – and I have the Santa hat to prove it.