Family holiday activities found throughout Youngstown
By Terry Duffy
Youngstown’s “Christmas in the Village” celebrations return Saturday, Dec. 11, with a host of family-oriented activities – from carriage rides to visits to Santa, gift-buying options galore to live theater. The Village of Youngstown and its business community present the holiday event.
Plans are shaping up rather nicely for the annual revisit of this pre-Christmas experience that was canceled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Oh yes, we’ll be ready,” Village Mayor Raleigh Reynolds commented recently when asked of the many activities in store for next weekend. One of several holiday experiences that returned to the River Region for 2021 – including last Sunday’s Ransomville Parade and this weekend’s Lewiston Christmas Walk – Youngstown’s “Christmas in the Village” is sure to offer something for visitors of all ages.
That includes live theater.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” will take over the former Mug and Musket stage on Main Street the entire weekend, with performances at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.
Directed by Claudia Andres, choral director at Wilson High School, “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be presented free of charge to visitors. The holiday classic will cast local performers Kris Brayley and Karen Bean as George and Mary Bailey, Dale Lawrence and Laura Scarsbrick as Joseph (God) and Clara (Angel). Also cast are Monti and Marica Jones, Lewis Bean and Michael Riordan, with Jim Jaremka and Elizabeth Teal providing live sound effects.
Donations for the shows are being accepted in support of the Youngstown Community Players, a developing theater company that has been active in attempting to reestablish the legendary Post Theatre at Fort Niagara State Park. Last summer, the group hosted an impromptu outdoor performance of “The Wizard of Oz” in support of the theater at Fort Niagara.
“We’re opening up the Mug and Musket for a fundraiser,” said Lewis Bean, owner of Youngstown’s Hill of Beans Coffee Shop. “Without serving dinner, we’re going to be putting it on almost like a dinner-type theater. Our plan is to put it on at the Mug and Musket; we’ll be using the frontage as a stage.”
The “Christmas in the Village” experience continues at the Youngstown Red Brick Village Center.
•The Christmas craft show and marketplace, with a host of vendors, will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the gym. Expect a variety of holiday crafts and some neat ideas for gift buying.
•A children’s Christmas party, presented by the Youngstown Recreation Department, runs from 1-3 p.m. in the second floor Cora Gushee Room. Look for the arrival of Santa Claus at 1 p.m., children’s crafts, plus balloon animals by Jiminy the Elf and Corabelle.
The Rec. Department said visitors are welcome to make a donation of a canned and/or dry food good or children’s toy for the annual Youngstown Christmas Basket program, which continues in the River Region. Donation boxes can be found in the Red Brick main entrance.
Other activities include crafts in the Community Room; musical entertainment by Step in Time in the gym; plus an assortment of refreshments, crafts and a raffle at Historical Museum.
•On Youngstown streets, visitors will find carriage rides available from noon to 4 p.m., with special guests roaming about to welcome everyone. There will also be assorted gift-buying ideas found at local businesses, plus food and drink available at village restaurants. In addition, the Youngstown Lions will be at the Red Brick parking lot with complimentary hot dogs and popcorn for visitors.
“We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you,” Reynolds said as he invited all to “spend the day in Youngstown.”
For more on Youngstown’s “Christmas in the Village,” visit its Facebook pages.