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FINGER LAKES—Villages around the finger lakes will be celebrating the holiday season with a variety of events this weekend. Dundee, Watkins Glen, Penn Yan and Hammondsport have all scheduled festivities:
Dundee: Christmas music, hot chocolate, horse-drawn wagon rides, and telling Santa Claus about your favorite toys. What could be more festive? Dundee’s Touch of Christmas offers all of that this Saturday, Dec. 8. The annual event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Seneca Street Park. “It’s family time to mingle with the community,” said organizer Judy Duquette. She added, “Families can come and keep the pocketbooks at home.” The food, entertainment, and even goodie bags with gifts are free. Duquette said there will be several food booths operated by area groups, entertainment at the gazebo, horse drawn rides, and a live nativity scene. Duquette added the Dundee Central School junior class will providing a surprise attraction at this year’s event. Santa arrives around 6:05 p.m. Duquette added children will get goodie bags containing gifts after meeting with Santa. Two new participants this year are the Yates County Department of Social Services and Youth Bureau, and Child and Family Health Resources (CFHR). Duquette said both agencies will tell families the services they offer. She added CFHR will also pass out hats and mittens to children. Duquette explained people have been donating or knitting hats and mittens for Touch of Christmas. She said some St. Mark’s Terrace residents have been knitting since the summer and donated over 100 new items. The Dundee Area Youth Center is also collecting hats and mittens, displayed on a Christmas tree in the front window. Our Town RoCKS will be also handing out free Christmas books to families and offering a photo booth. The cost of the books is covered by a $1,500 grant, and an award from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation. The foundation will present the “Impact Award” to Our Town RoCKS at the Touch of Christmas event. Coordinator Lauren Snyder said the Dundee, Barrington and Starkey group was rewarded for its work to improve the community. Duquette said a group of nearly 15 volunteers help put on Touch of Christmas each year. She said the volunteers have been doing the event for so long everything runs smoothly. She explained she starts asking businesses for monetary donations to cover the costs in late October. The fire department donates tables and Scottish Glen provides the tree and wreaths for decoration. The Dundee Baptist Church next to the park is used as the main base of operations the day of the event. Duquette said the volunteers meet there at 10 a.m. and start preparing the goodie bags, bagging the chestnuts, and making the food. She added for many of the volunteers it’s a family affair. Duquette said Kevin Copeck Sr. does a lot, including hauling the tables for Touch of Christmas. She added his daughter makes the fliers. Duquette said the Travis family helps by purchasing some of the children’s gifts and the Websters’ longtime involvement helps at the church. Chris Tiffany said her family decorates the park. She explained, “It started as a family thing: the husband, me, and the two children. For the family, Christmas is a big thing.” Tiffany added they have been volunteering for at least 10 years. She said the best part though is “the night of Touch of Christmas seeing the little kids and families out together.”
Watkins Glen: Franklin Street will be busy with a different kind of traffic as pedestrians enjoy the annual Village Christmas this Friday, Dec. 7. The Village Christmas has a full schedule of attractions for the family. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. on Franklin Street. Entertainment includes musical groups from the Watkins Glen School, Odessa-Montour School, and Lakeview Assembly of God. Dream Barn Productions will perform “Rollin’ in dough in Mistletoe” at the village hall throughout the evening. At the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lake Country Players will present “Twas the Night Before Christmas” improv show. One of the highlights of the evening will be the Christmas Village Parade. It starts at 6:30 p.m., going from Specchio Ford and following Franklin Street north to First Street. The parade will also be judged by a panel who will give awards for “Judges’ Choice,” “Most Christmas Spirit,” “Most Decorated,” and “Best Decorated Fire Truck.” Parade organizer Caryl Sutterby said there will be between 25 and 30 units in the parade. She said she has been working with the parade for about 10 years now. She added the volunteers who help are “wonderful people who have a heartstring for Christmas [and] who make sure the kids and family have a good time.” Santa and Mrs. Claus will then be at Famous Brands to greet all the children at the festival following the parade. All children who visit Santa Friday evening will receive free admission to “Rise of the Guardians” movie Saturday morning, Dec. 8, at the Glen Theater. Santa’s Reindeer will be at Community Bank. Santa’s elves will be back this year personalizing Christmas ornaments at 211 North Franklin St. (Village Memorabilia). The last event of the evening is the winter fireworks display. It will be held over Seneca Harbor Park at 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. Organizer Christine Peacock explained they keep adding attractions to the event “slowly and surely.” She said the organizers meet a few times throughout the year to prepare for the Christmas event. She said, with a laugh, it seems planning for the following Village Christmas starts in January. For more, call 535-3003 or visit www.watkinsglen.com/promotions.
Penn Yan: The village of Penn Yan will be holding its 28th annual StarShine holiday celebration in the village Friday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The evening will feature several different events at various locations, including horse-drawn carriage rides through the village and dozens of non-profit vendors on the courthouse lawn. The Penn Yan Public Library will feature the north pole, hosting the arrival of Santa Claus at 7 p.m. Children can sit on Santa’s lap and get their photo taken while Mrs. Claus tells stories. The library will be open until 9 p.m. Yates County Habitat for Humanity will be holding its annual Pancake Day for lunch and dinner at St. Michael’s Church hall. The Oliver House Museum at 107 Chapel St. will also be holding an open house, while the official lighting of the community Christmas tree will take place at 6 p.m. at the courthouse lawn. The First Baptist Church will be having elf school, featuring face painting, cookie decorating and reindeer food. The Penn Yan Academy and middle school string group will play at the church sanctuary from 6 to 6:30 p.m. while the elementary school choir will sing from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The Penn Yan Community Chorus will also perform at 7 p.m. The StarShine stage on the courthouse steps will also feature live performances throughout the event, culminating with the crowning of Miss Penn Yan at 8 p.m.
Hammondsport: The village of Hammondsport celebrates the holidays with Christmas in the Park this Saturday, Dec. 8. The annual event will be held in the Village Square from 4 to 8 p.m. The afternoon includes the traditional tree lighting, entertainment, refreshments, and an appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Vendors will also be set up throughout the entire afternoon and evening. Christmas in the Park starts with the Keuka Lake Players’ holiday production at the First Presbyterian Church. There is no cost. The tree lighting ceremony follows immediately afterwards at 5 p.m. The Penn Yan Community Choir, Curtiss Elementary Symphonic Band, and Curtiss School Choir will provide music throughout the rest of the hour. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at 6 p.m. People will also get to see some of Santa’s reindeer and take hay wagon rides from then until 8 p.m. The St. Thomas Bell Ringers and the Hammondsport Methodist Church Choir are scheduled to perform at 6:30 and 7 p.m. respectively.