Prepared by staff
Holiday-related festivities are going full swing throughout northern Niagara.
Launched locally Thanksgiving weekend with events such as the Ransomville Lighting of the Wreaths and the annual Fatima Shrine holiday lighting, merriment spread to Newfane Friday night with the annual Newfane Holiday Light Up. This weekend, it's the 44th annual Lewiston Christmas Walk and seventh annual Lewiston Historical Association Tour of Homes.
So many holiday happenings, so little time.
Next weekend brings "Christmas in the Village of Youngstown - 2011," presented by the Village of Youngstown Recreation Department and the Youngstown Business and Professional Association. It takes place Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a number of happenings at the Youngstown Red Brick School Village Center, 240 Lockport St., and various locations throughout the community.
•An Artisan Christmas Market in the Red Brick Village Center gym will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market will feature everything from gluten-free baked goods to walking staffs, clothing, jewelry, fine art, pottery, military merchandise, Native American crafts, woodwork, coffee and Christmas cakes.
•The Historical Society will have a trolley exhibit set up on the second floor of the Village Center, which can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
•Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available from noon to 4 p.m., picking up riders at the Red Brick on Lockport Street.
•The Women's Study Club of Youngstown presents a "Victorian Tea" in the Cora Gushee Room of the Red Brick, from 2 to 4 p.m.
•The village will be alive with music and wandering minstrels. Julie Winden on trumpet, vocalist Anne DeFazio and Niagara County student musicians will entertain at the "Victorian Tea." Recorded holiday music can be heard outside in the village and Step in Time will perform from noon to 5 p.m. outside Anchor Spirits on Lockport Street.
•The annual Old Fort Niagara encampment can be seen from noon to 5 p.m. on the north lawn at Falkner Park.
•A children's "Christmas Party with Santa" will be offered from 3 to 5 p.m. on the second floor of the Red Brick.
•Crafts for pre-K and elementary-age children will be available at the Youngstown Free Library from noon to 3 p.m. The library opens at 10 a.m. that day.
•The annual village tree lighting takes place at 5 p.m. outside the Red Brick on Lockport Street.
•Amy Teal will offer a recital at 6 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, 100 Church Street.
Food and drink will be available throughout the day's events. Additionally, strolling carolers, costumed characters and musical groups will further spread holiday cheer.
•The evening will see a lighting up of the village and the Town of Porter with the annual Youngstown Lions Club holiday lighting contest. Residents throughout the village and town are invited to participate.
Youngstown Lions Club members will judge home decorations from the areas of Lower River Road to Porter Center Road, from Lake Road to Porter town line, and in the Village of Youngstown.
Entries will be judged on originality, creativity and embracing the Christmas/holiday spirit. The previous winning homes are not eligible to win this year's contest. Judges' decisions will be final.
Three prizes will be offered. The first-place winner will receive a $100 gift card; the second-place winner receives a $75 gift card; and the third-place winner receives a $50 gift card.
Youngstown Lions Club members extend their best of holiday wishes to all area residents and good luck to the decorators.
•Also taking place that evening is Old Fort Niagara's "Castle by Candlelight" program. The annual event will be held Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
A "can't miss" is the firing of a grand feu de joie ("firing of joy") by the assembled fort garrison. The feu de joie is a traditional military ceremony involving running fire by muskets and artillery to mark a special occasion or victory.
Inside the castle, lit entirely by candles, historic characters will regale visitors with tales of Christmas past from the 18th and 19th centuries. Demonstrations of 18th and early 19th century trades and period music will be performed. In the castle's boulangerie (bakery), cooks will demonstrate the preparation of a traditional holiday feast, including wild game.
The Youngstown Garden Club will decorate the castle for the holidays. The group was named by the National Garden Clubs Inc. as a first-place winner in the category of "Decoration of Historic Building" for the club's holiday decorating of the French Castle.
To add to the festivities, candle lanterns will illuminate the fort grounds.
Tickets to the "Castle by Candlelight" are $8 per person, and will be available at the door. Guests can arrive at the Fort Niagara Visitor Center at any time between 7 and 8:30 p.m., and are asked to dress for the weather, wear walking footwear, and bring a flashlight.
Join all of Youngstown in celebrating the second annual "Christmas in the Village." For more on these events, visit the Youngstown Business and Professional Association on Facebook. (photos by Wayne Peters)