The Echo Park Animal Alliance is holding its annual holiday fundraiser -- part of Echo Park Pottery Studio's annual event -- as scheduled this year, despite having lost Santa. Michael Prichard, who was the EPAA's official authentic bearded Santa died on Nov. 11. Prichard captained the Santa ship, posing for photos with dogs and humans at Peter Shire's studio. Some of the best-known dogs of Echo Park have shared Christmas-card space with Prichard. My own photo from Dec. 2006 shows Santa Prichard, my dog Rosie, my daughter Madeleine and myself -- all of us smiling, except for Madeleine, who wasn't sold on Santa and who sat next to him looking as though she had been ordered into her car seat. It made people laugh. Rosie liked Prichard, though, and so did I. And I always thought "Santa" when I saw Prichard in other seasons in front of his house on Vestal: Hot, hot July days and Santa. No more.
I don't know who will replace Prichard or whether he/she will be a member of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, but the holiday photo cards sale will go on -- at Echo Park Pottery Studios' annual holiday sales, which will be on December 1 and 2, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., 1850 Echo Park Ave.
Prichard will be missed in Echo Park and by recipients of Christmas dog cards around the world.