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From Santa to Wonder Woman, Longboater spreads cheer in costume

Rotarian Nancy Rozance is a costumed crusader who brightens smiles across the Key as Wonder Woman, Josh the Otter, the Easter Bunny and Santa.

Luke Safford, Nancy Rozance and Shae Safford at Light Up Longboat on Nov. 25, 2023.
Luke Safford, Nancy Rozance and Shae Safford at Light Up Longboat on Nov. 25, 2023.
Photo by Petra Rivera
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Nancy Rozance is someone who wears many hats — or costumes.

Rozance, the club director of youth services and past president for the Longboat Key Rotary Club, is known for making people smile in any way she can. Whether it's reading at Tuttle Elementary School with the Rotary Club or appearing as Santa at the annual Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce tree lighting, she will always go the extra mile to make an event more fun.

But you might not recognize her at some events because she is a woman with many identities: Wonder Woman, Josh the Otter and the Easter Bunny. And of course, at this time of year, Santa Claus.

“I have always been known for getting dressed up for different holidays, whether it was a pumpkin or the Easter Bunny,” said Rozance. “And for Christmas, my husband, Jack, and I don't like to give each other gifts. We like to give a memory or an experience. One year, for Jack’s Christmas gift, I decided to dress up as Santa for when we do gift wrapping at the Pines of Sarasota. And everyone has a blast. If people get a laugh out of me making a fool of myself, I thought, why not?”

Former Rotary president Gail Loefgren heard about the big hit that was Santa at the Pines, a senior living facility, and called Rozance to be Santa at the first ever Light Up Longboat event five years ago. She has played Santa at every chamber tree lighting ever since.

Nancy Rozance
Photo by Petra Rivera

“The only thing I can’t do is talk when I’m Santa. I can’t pull off the voice,” said Rozance. “So I'm always just nodding and ringing my bell. The first Light Up Longboat, a little boy sat in my lap, and he asked me for a puppy. The next morning, Jack and I took a walk over to the marina, and we saw the boy with his father. And I said to Jack, ‘Do you think I should tell the father and put him on the hook for a puppy for his kid?’ Jack was like, ‘No, just stay out of it.’ I don't know if he ever did get his puppy.”

This year, Rozance was Santa again for Light Up Longboat on Nov. 25

At this event, the Rotary Club collected toys to donate to Stillpoint Mission for middle school-aged children. Rozance also leads the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the Rotary Club where Rotarians choose children from Stillpoint Mission via an angel tree to buy them $25 gifts for Christmas.

Rozance also heads “Books For Kids,” the reading program at Tuttle Elementary School where the Rotary Club acts out a new book for Tuttle students and provides new books for them each month.

Nancy Rozance as Wonder Woman at a Rotary Club event
Courtesy image

As club director of youth services and as Santa, she is passionate about making sure the children are being provided with what they need and feel loved, especially around the holidays.

Rozance has dressed as Santa at the Pines of Sarasota, St. Mary Star of the Sea and when volunteering as a bell ringer for the Red Kettle Campaign at Publix. She has also been a pumpkin for Halloween, Josh the Otter at Tuttle Elementary School and Wonder Women for a Rotary Club event.

“Making people smile or laugh is the best part,” said Rozance. “It's just fun, especially in this day and age. People are just glum about everything. So I do whatever I can to turn that around.”



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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