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StarShine is ready for holiday spirit, new location

    PENN YAN—Penn Yan will celebrate the holidays by holding the annual StarShine festival, Friday, Dec. 2.
    This year, due to the Liberty Street bridge closure and Main Street detour, StarShine will be predominantly held at the county courthouse/Penn Yan Public Library. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Highlights of the evening include the lighting of the Lions Club Community Christmas Tree at 6 p.m., Santa’s arrival at 7 p.m., and the crowning of Miss Penn Yan 2011 at 8 p.m.
    The main activities will be on the lawn at the old Yates County Courthouse. The steps of the historic building will serve as the stage for performers. Many musical groups who have participated in past years will again be at StarShine. The Community Chorus, Judy Hillyard and children signing Christmas Carols and members of the Penn Yan Middle School Drama Group will perform.
    The old portico will be the site of a living Nativity scene. Overlooking the lawn, the gazebo will feature the ceremonial Christmas tree. Just steps away at Penn Yan Baptist Church, an area will be transformed into Elf School. Youngsters will have an opportunity to decorate cookies or be decorated themselves by having their faces painted. One special feature is an area where the children may make reindeer food. The Penn Yan Public Library will host Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children will have an opportunity to visit with Santa and to listen to Mrs. Claus read to them.
    One of the traditions from the earliest years is horse-drawn wagon rides on the evening of StarShine. The rides will be featured again, but with a different route. The wagons will begin their trips on Court Street, next to the event site.
    Other traditional events during StarShine include the annual Pancake Day at St. Michael’s Church hall on Liberty Street. The Habitat for Humanity event will serve at both lunch and dinner time. Oliver House and the Caroline Underwood Museum will have an open house during the evening. Penn Yan United Methodist Church will open its doors to visitors.
    One highlight is the crowning of Miss Penn Yan. The program is designed to recognize the contributions to the community made by the candidates. After an absence of several years, the program resumed in 1985 and is sponsored by Yates County Women.
    Information about each of this year’s six candidates, including activities and their essays on what they would do if they were in charge of Penn Yan for one day follow:

    Alyssa Broome
    Sponsor: Penn Yan Fire Department.
    Activities: Class of 2013 Treasurer, Yearbook Club, Art Club, International Club, Interact, H.E.R.O., Academic Excellence, Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteer at Yates County Humane Society, volunteer at Milly’s Pantry, swim instructor at the Jerusalem recreation program, member of Relay for Life Footprint Team, helped with planning of Junior Prom/Senior Ball, Excellence Award for Spanish.
    “If I was in charge of Penn Yan for a day, I would have members of the community come together to fix up this amazing town we live in. I would have people pick-up trash along the roads, plant gardens around town, as well as fixing up houses and buildings within the town. I would also have a group clean up and fix the local playground located on Lake Street. This would enhance the beauty our town already possesses.”

    Abigail Eaves
    Sponsor: Penn Yan Manor.
    Activities: PYA Superior Honor Roll, Academic Excellence, International Club President, HUBBA, Band, Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble, Ski Club, Penn Yan Manor volunteer, Empire State Quarter Horse Youth Association, delegate of National Youth Leadership Conference on Medicine, Worship leader, Sunday School assistant and Youth Group at Crosswinds Wesleyan Church.
    “If I were to have the privilege of assuming a role of leadership in the community of Penn Yan for one day, I would declare a ‘Pay it Back, Pay it Forward’ Day. I believe more recognition should be given to those who have helped us all to become the citizens we are today, young and old alike. This day would encourage all members of our small society to reflect, recognize and respond to the influential individuals who have had an effect on their life, whether it was small or grand. The second aspect of the day would include those people who received the recognition initially  to in turn pay it forward, thus starting a chain effect of gratitude throughout the community, and hopefully continue the idea long into the future generations of Penn Yan.”

    Elizabeth Gavigan
    Sponsor: Penn Yan Rotary Club.
    Activities: Interact, Honor roll, Select Choir, Concert Choir, Natural Helpers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Treasurer of Drama Club, Treasurer of Junior Class, assisting in directing plays at PYA, Youth Group, assisting Lyn Strong in creating dances for Junior Mustangs cheerleading team, Babysitting.
    “There are many things I would love to do to help improve our community if I was in charge for one day. If I was in charge for one day, I would start a program that would meet weekly and have events monthly for the whole community in order to unite us. In this program we would try to create events which encouraged intergenerational relations. I believe that if we unite our community and generations there will be less drugs and violence. This could happen because through free monthly events for the community we could all learn about each other.”

    Brittany Griffin
    Sponsor: Penn Yan Chapter of the Future Farmers of America.
    Activities: FFA student advisor, FFA President 2010-11, President of International Harvesters 4-H Club, Vice-president of Yates County 4-H Teen Ambassadors, Petting Zoos for Arc of Yates and Keuka Lake School, helped set up and distribute Food for the Needy and Thanksgiving baskets for the Needy, Vacation Bible School.
    “The success of a community is dependent upon the people’s involvement in the town. Penn Yan, like many small towns in New York is in desperate need of financial and involvement stimulation. Around Penn Yan there are many local businesses and service agencies which give many opportunities and goods for those in our community. It would be wonderful if there was a day celebrating local businesses and service agencies, clubs and volunteers. This event could be called ‘One Day, One Community’ and it would be a day to honor and raise awareness of local businesses, clubs and agencies.”

    Gabrielle Hollenbeck
    Sponsor: Penn Yan Lions Club.
    Activities: H.E.R.O., Yates County Relay for Life, ALS Association, Pep Club, Varsity Lacrosse, Junior Varsity Volleyball, works at Smugglers Corner Bar & Grill in Potter.
    “I would improve the community through an anti-bullying program ‘If You Really Knew Me.’ This program is a way for people of every age to realize that the things they do to try and be funny could really hurt someone’s feelings. I chose this program because bullying is a problem, not just in school, but throughout a person’s life. I personally have gone through bullying experience and realized that people really didn’t understand how bad it hurt to hear the things they were saying. But my main reason to start this program is to pass on H.E.R.O., helping everyone respect others.”

    Emma Willing
    Sponsor: Catholic Daughters of the Americas Court 1173.
    Activities: Academic Excellence, Superintendent Search Committee, Art Club, four time Scholar Athlete, Art Club,  Officer of my Girl Scout troop, altar server at St. Patrick’s Church, Village of Penn Yan lifeguard, New York State lifeguard, Co-captain of Synchronized Swim team, volunteer at Milly’s Pantry.
    “To be in charge of a community would really give a person a chance to change the community for the better. If I had this opportunity for one day to accomplish this goal I would gather a group  of community members to paint murals around Penn Yan depicting the natural beauty of this area. These murals would be scattered throughout the village to enhance the town’s beauty. This could make a plain wall into a work of art while showcasing our great community.”



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