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Penn Yan is ready for StarShine Dec. 4

PENN YAN—The stars in downtown Penn Yan windows give a hint of the theme of this year’s StarShine celebration Dec. 4. This year is the 25th or Silver Anniversary of the popular village party that welcomes the holiday season. Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree in the mini park on Main Street will kick off the event at 5:30 p.m., with Main Street closed to traffic in the core business district at 4 p.m.
Visitors to Penn Yan may notice silver stars in many windows in the downtown area. The idea of that project was presented to students and staff in the Penn Yan Central School District by HUBBA coordinators Nancy Jameson and Marianne Trombley. Each child and teacher in the district made a star with the name of a person who meant something to them as well as a line or two about why that person was important to them.
StarShine chairperson Kate Decker said she walked around downtown last week and read some of the comments about the characteristics that made a difference to the person who made the star, commenting many of them were very moving. She is hoping the stars will remain on display through the holidays.
A coloring contest for young children was a feature of many StarShine celebrations and this year entries will be on display at the sponsor, Lyons National Bank and at Flying Colors store on Main Street.
One of the newest activities at the downtown Penn Yan event is a chili contest which is scheduled from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. This year there are about 15 entries in the contest that raises money for Yates County Christmas for the Needy. Decker said she did a lot of research on holiday festivals where she got the idea for a chili contest. She said, “I thought it was a great idea and a fun way to raise money for Christmas for the Needy.” Money donated for a person’s favorite chili will be donated to the annual event that provides a better holiday for people who need help at Christmastime.
Chili lovers will be able to taste one or all of the entries at 110 Main St. This is the third year for chili and Decker said it is the biggest so far. She said there will be a new twist this year: Penn Yan School District Helping Build Better Assets (HUBBA) members will be serving the chili. this way the creators of each chili will be anonymous, eliminating the chance of a popularity contest. Decker said the contest winner will be announced before the Miss Penn Yan program begins at 8 p.m.
StarShine is on the first Friday in December and on many years the temperature was well below freezing. This year many events will be indoors. Santa Claus, who arrives at 7 p.m., will be toasty warm in Community Bank along with the children waiting to share their lists with him. While seasonal music will be heard outside, many musical groups will perform indoors at Milly’s Pantry. Representatives of local nonprofit organizations will be spread out through the entire festival area, giving away or selling a variety of goodies ranging from hot dogs, hot coffee, cocoa and sweet treats from 5 p.m. until the end of the festival. A new addition to the traditional groups is Camp Good Days which will offer kazoos for sale. Free hay wagon rides through the festival area will be available throughout the evening.
Other traditional events are also scheduled Dec. 4. Pancake Day for the benefit of Yates County Habitat for Humanity will kick off activities for the day at 11 a.m. at St. Michael’s Church on Liberty Street in Penn Yan. Lunch serving will be from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and in the afternoon from 4:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Yates County Arts Center on East Elm Street and Oliver House and the L. Caroline Underwood Museums on Main and Chapel Streets will have open house hours during StarShine.
StarShine will end at 9 p.m. and before long, planning for StarShine 2010 will begin.

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