By Terry Duffy
Those venturing throughout the River Region in search of Small Business Saturday bargains are best advised to include the hamlet of Ransomville in their travels next weekend, as well. This little community on the east end of the Town of Porter will present its annual Festival of Wreaths celebration and a whole host of holiday events on Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1.
A community favorite, the Festival of Wreaths is presented by Ransomville-area merchants and businesses in conjunction with the Ransomville Business and Professional Association, Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Porter.
With Bills football out of the way next weekend, it’s a happening worth checking out.
Look for a variety of holiday activities, as in children’s author visits to the Ransomville Free Library, followed by an entertaining family scavenger hunt at nearby Johnston’s Family Restaurant on Saturday; plus a jam-packed Sunday full of happenings.
How about open houses to visit at seven locations in the hamlet, loads of holiday fun for the kids – including picture taking with Santa – primate animal displays, craft making, clowns and balloons? That’s not all; check out a new fire truck dedication, the annual Festival of Wreaths contest, holiday performances, and the annual community parade down Youngstown-Lockport Road. This one also includes continuous shuttle bus service and carriage rides throughout the hamlet.
“The annual Ransomville Festival of Wreaths promises a day full of free, family-friendly activities,” Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Pauly said.
The Festival of Wreaths schedule includes:
•From noon-2 p.m., the annual wreath-decorating contest will accept entries from residents and businesses at the O. Leo Curtiss American Legion Post 830 on Youngstown-Lockport Road. Unfinished wreaths are provided for decorating, and judging will take place from 12:30-3 p.m. at the post on Sunday.
For more on the contest, including wreaths, contest rules and other info, stop by the Porter Empty Return Center at 3628 Ransomville Road.
•At 1 p.m., the Ransomville Free Library will host children’s author Stephen Nawotniak of Buffalo and his award-winning “Mubu the Morph” children’s book series.
Nawotniak’s writings focus on character development in a child-friendly format that both young readers and their parents enjoy. It’s a concept that not only “helps our children to be proud and happy with their own inner selves, but to empathize with others and see them for the person they are beneath the skin,” he said. “ ‘Mubu the Morph’ helps to show children (and their loved ones) in a fun, easy-to-understand manner, that what’s on the inside is what counts!”
Holiday books to check out include “Mubu the Morph,” “Blue Mubu” and “Mubu’s Christmas.” The library is expected to have complimentary books available from the author for younger visitors.
Also that afternoon, visitors can learn more on flag etiquette at the library, with a program presented by the Ransomville Boy Scouts.
•At 4 p.m., Johnston’s Family Restaurant on Academy Street will host its annual family-friendly scavenger hunt. Teams of five are welcome to participate. A driver age 21 or over is requested, and “helpful tools to hunt” are welcome. Register at Patti’s Cut Above, 2568 Youngstown-Lockport Road. Prizes will be awarded at 7 p.m., with complimentary pizza and soda for participants.
For more information, call Patti’s Cut Above at 791-8800.
•Open houses will take place throughout the day at Johnston’s Family Restaurant, the Mason Hall, O. Leo Curtiss American Legion Post 830, the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Co., Care-n-Share Food Pantry (with servings of hot chocolate), and at Patti’s Cut Above, with two visiting vendors expected.
•From 12:30-3:30 p.m., the Ransomville Wreath Contest will take place at American Legion Post 830. The post will also be a drop-off site for donations collected for Toys for Tots.
•From 12:30-3:30 p.m., there will be a number of activities at the Ransomville Volunteer Fire Co. firehall. Included will be the arrival of Santa Claus on the fire truck at 12:45 p.m.; visits with Santa with a complimentary photo from 1-3 p.m.; plus K-9 demos, fire truck and ambulance displays, clowns, balloons, face painting and more for the kids.
The Primate Sanctuary Animal Show will visit at 2 p.m. Visitors will be able to check out dedication of the new Ransomville Fire Co. 2018 B-One Rescue Pumper Truck at 4 p.m. Still more happenings at the hall include a wood carving demo and raffle.
•From 12:30-3:30 p.m., the Ransomville United Methodist Church, 2573 Youngstown-Lockport Road, will host a craft show with vendors; a basket raffle to benefit the Care-n-Share Food Pantry; and the Ransomville ambulance fund will also be held. Food trucks will be available in front of the church from 12:30-5 p.m.
•The Ransomville Free Library will host children’s events from 1-3 p.m., while the annual Festival of Wreaths Parade begins at 3 p.m. at the library. It will continue to Hardison’s Funeral Home. Attendees are requested to assemble at 2:30 p.m.
Parade organizer Ruth Anne Buzzard said the parade will feature a host of participants, including the New York State Police; Ransomville American Legion Post 830; Boy Scout Troop 855 from Lewiston and Troop 829 from Youngstown; Cub Scouts from Gasport, Cambria and Glendale; Santa Claus; the Ransomville Speedway pace truck and Miss Ransomville; plus officials from the Town of Porter and Youngstown U.S. Coast Guard Station Niagara; the Ransomville Garden Club; Step in Time dancers; a display of decorated tractors; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the state DEC, Ransomville Masonic Lodge; and Ki-Po Motors of Ransomville.
•The Ransomville Baptist Church on Route 93 will hold a basket raffle from 12:30-3:30 p.m. From 4-5:30 p.m., a number of closing ceremonies will take place, including the Lighting of the Wreaths. Winners of the Ransomville wreath contest will be announced. Also featured will be wood carvers and a basket auction. A performance of the Wilson High School Chorale, directed by Claudia Andres, will conclude the celebration.
For more information on the Ransomville Festival of Wreaths, visit the O. Leo Curtiss American Legion Post 830 on Facebook, or contact organizer Hap Skellen at 716-791-3332.