Plans are shaping up nicely for a holiday celebration in Youngstown next month that's anticipated by organizers to be one of the best ever.
"Christmas in the Village," presented by the Village of Youngstown Recreation Department and the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, will take place on Saturday Dec. 11, from noon to 7 p.m. at locations scattered throughout the community.
Claudia Andres, Youngstown Recreation Commission member, reports that village and YBPA organizers have been planning for the 2010 event in earnest over past months, evaluating past year's celebrations -- what's been popular, what's worked, and what hasn't.
"Years ago, this was a really big deal with Christmas groups, activities," says Andres. "Then it became a children's Christmas celebration, then it was ‘Boxes of Caring.' "
She says that, this year, organizers picked among the best of past celebrations to plan for what they hope will be a fun holiday event for all ages. "Planning has gone really well; many have gotten involved with it," she adds.
"Christmas in the Village" opens at noon at the Village Red Brick Community Center, with a take-away crafts activity offered for children ages 3-10 until 3 p.m. in the gym. Included will be a "Boxes of Caring" decoration contest for the kids.
Throughout the day, there will be holiday happenings aplenty for visitors to partake in:
Andres reports one happening to checkout is Santa's Workshop, taking place in the basement area of the Red Brick. Geared for the little ones, area Girl Scouts will be on hand, assisting children who will be able to visit, select and purchase a gift, and help out with the wrapping.
"It's one of my favorites," Andres says, urging "Christmas in the Village" visitors to check it out. "Parents can drop off their kids; the Girls Scouts are here. It's a safe environment. It's inexpensive; the kids can visit and can decorate their own gifts for their parents."
Andres adds that, throughout the day, the village will be filled with carolers and costumed characters strolling about and spreading holiday cheer. The event will also see musical groups performing, food and drink samples by local businesses, and specials by area restaurants.
Speaking of businesses, Andres points out that, thus far, their response to being a part of this year's celebration has been impressive. "Everyone has been very positive so far," she says, noting that businesses have been donating goods and services as well as contributing financially toward the celebration. "And the interest keeps building."
Indeed it does. The YBPA has been building momentum via word of mouth and online, and urges all to become involved. "Take part in this celebration," reads a YBPA Facebook post. "Please consider opening your business or hall on Saturday afternoon and schedule a singing group, craft workshop, theater group, bell ringers, instrumentalists, cookies and hot chocolate, or whatever your holiday imagination can dream up.
"Youngstown offers a few great small town celebrations during the year -- let's make this one as successful as the others by really coming together as a community."
With lighting displays going up and decorations dotting the village, YBPA and the Village of Youngstown invite all residents throughout northern Niagara to keep the day open and be a part of what they hope will be a memorable holiday event.
All that's needed is a white wintry weekend to make it complete.