Niagara Gazette — "Mr. Las Vegas" himself Wayne Newton led an impromptu sing-a-long on Old Falls Street Friday night.
In keeping with the season, the legendary performer asked a crowd of more than 50 onlookers to help him with an on-the-street rendition of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
The crowd, including the likes of Mayor Paul Dyster and newly elected Seneca Nation of Indians President Barry Snyder Sr., happily obliged.
"It feels wonderful," Newton said following a brief ceremony where helped light the holiday lights on the trees lining Old Falls Street. "I think the christmas spirit and the holiday spirit and everybody coming together to make sure that the lights are turned on again on this fabulous street, kind of says it all. That's what these people are all about."
For a self-proclaimed "Wayniac" like Sandi Kaugas the moment was indicative of the type of personalized entertainment Newton has been delivering to big fans like her for decades. The Des Plaines, Ill. resident arrived in the Falls for a vacation on Thursday. She watched her idol in action that night and plans to see him at least two more times at Seneca Niagara Casino before she leaves for home.
"I've known him for about 30 years," said Kaugas, a longtime member of the International Wayne Newton Fan Club who said she's met the man often referred to as "Mr. Entertainment" many times, even visited his ranch with other club members. "It's his music. His showmanship. He's just a great guy."
Newton held the first of seven shows scheduled for the Seneca Niagara Events Center on Wednesday. He'll appear again tonight, with his last show set for Sunday.
During Friday's ceremony on Old Falls Street, he was given a key to the city by Mayor Paul Dyster, who explained that the tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when communities were walled in to guard against vandals and marauders. Dyster said it was common practice in those days for trusted friends of those gated communities to be given a key to unlock a door, offering access to the city.