“Grand Rapids’ Santa Claus”
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1919 – 1995
International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – December 2019
For nearly five decades, one man was Santa Claus to the greater Grand Rapids, MI area. That man was Frank Manjack. A World War II veteran and a family man, Manjack embraced life to the fullest. His passion was Santa Claus.
His career started in the early 1950s at Wurzburg’s Department Store in downtown Grand Rapids. Wurzburg’s was also the sponsor of the Christmas Parade. The Parade is the second largest in Michigan and one the oldest Holiday Parades in North America. Manjack appeared that the parade dozens of times.
His seasonal appearances also included hospitals, schools, and orphanages. His image as Santa was used on local advertisements and on promotional materials. Manjack was one of the very first Santas to use “vanity” plates on his vehicle. In 1978 the State of Michigan issued him “Santa” plates for his car. His wife of 40 years, Clara, often appeared as Mrs. Claus with her husband. Frank Manjack passed way in 1995 closing a unique chapter in professional Santa Claus folklore.