By Terry Duffy
Those pre-Christmas celebrations have certainly been taking hold of late in Buffalo-Niagara, haven't they?
Past weeks have seen a whole host of community happenings, big and small, taking place in the two counties. We've seen the Niagara Electric Lights Parade on Military Road in the Town of Niagara, Grand Island's Light Up the Boulevard, the ongoing Niagara Falls Old Falls Street holiday celebrations, Ransomville's Lighting of the Wreaths weekend, and North Tonawanda's Tree of Hope. Add to that a number of holiday happenings in the Buffalo area - plus a slew of Christmas shopping - the Gateway Cities Winter Walk in NT, crowds of shoppers on Black Friday at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, and Small Business Saturday shopping experiences in a number of communities.
Sure, the weather has yet to be all that wintery, but area residents have indeed been in the holiday spirit.
And that continues this weekend with holiday parades and celebrations in Newfane and Wilson, plus the annual Lewiston Christmas Walk taking over the village.
Up next, it's the seventh annual Youngstown Christmas in the Village celebration, Saturday, Dec. 10. Presented by the Village of Youngstown, the Youngstown Business and Professional Association and local businesses, this community event kicks off at 10 a.m. and continues all day with a number of holiday-themed events taking place at the Red Brick School Village Center, at area businesses and throughout Youngstown.
"We're having our annual Christmas in the Village. It's a time to visit our wonderful business district for shopping and festivities," Youngstown Trustee Stu Comerford said.
YBPA President Cheryl Butera said the village, its residents and local businesses, all have been getting ready for this one. LED snowflake lighting, provided by YBPA, is again going up on village streets and in Main Street's Falkner Park. And community groups are joining in, throwing out the welcome mat for visitors.
"Our community shines when our members and nonmembers and local residents show their enthusiasm to visitors and each other," Butera said.
She reported a host of happenings will be offered next Saturday to get visitors into the holiday mood. Included are:
•The annual Christmas Market, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Village Center gym.
•Complimentary horse and carriage rides from noon to 4 p.m. throughout the village. Look for Olaf, Rudolph, Frosty plus a host of musical performers, including Lew-Port school children, who will be cruising village streets.
•Christmas craft-making from noon to 2 p.m. in the Youngstown Free Library at the Red Brick.
From 1-3 p.m., a special event will see Santa dropping by for a visit with children and a reading of "The Night Before Christmas." There will also be opportunities for photos with the famous "Man in Red," cookie decorating plus still more craft activities for kids that afternoon.
•At the Red Brick, the Youngstown Lions Club SEE program will offer eye screening for pre-K and kindergartners; the village Historical Museum will open for visitors with refreshments and holiday characters in period dress from 1-4 p.m.; for the grown-ups, refreshments, offered in a Victorian setting, will be available in the boardroom from 2-4 p.m., with hot beverages available for all, courtesy of Friends of the Library.
•The village Christmas tree lighting ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. in Falkner Park.
Pointing to YBPA's holiday theme this year, Butera said, "Leave a little sparkle, wherever you go."
"The Village of Youngstown and the YBPA will do our best to make visiting Youngstown so pleasant you will want to come back often!" she said. "We have great eating establishments, historic landmarks and live music! Let us entertain you.
"We are small, but we have heart!"
For more on Youngstown's Christmas in the Village, visit the YBPA page on Facebook.