Police and village officials estimate that more than 1,000 people jammed the village Sunday for the annual Holidays in the Village celebration.
So many people came to shop in the stores, listen to carolers, and enter to win more than $8,000 in toys and gifts raffled off by Sawyer Motors, Sawyer Chevrolet, and Ward Backhaus that police had to close Main Street to vehicular traffic.
“It was a tremendous Christmas in the village,” said mayor William Murphy at Monday night’s Village Board meeting.
“The Chamber of Commerce, fire department, Kiwanis, Sawyer Motors, Sawyer Chevrolet, Ward Backhaus, and the horse-drawn carriages really made the village come alive,” Murphy said.
Bob and Larry Siracusano, who own Sawyer Motors in Saugerties and Sawyer Chevrolet in Catskill, and Ward Backhaus, who owns Backhaus Used Cars, were among the village merchants who purchased the toys, TVs, bicycles and cell phones that were given out throughout the day.
Village trustee Vincent Buono thanked the Ulster County prison workforce for helping put up all the lights at Seamon Park.
“Kiwanis members are getting a little old and needed the help,” joked Murphy.
Trustee Jeannine Mayer, who was on the planning committee for the day’s events along with chamber leaders Michael and Nancy Campbell, said that it seemed there were more fire trucks and emergency service vehicles in this year’s Parade of Lights up to the park this year.
And while the daylong event was pretty special for visitors to the village, it was even more special for the many merchants who chose to open for the day.
Mayer reported that one merchant, Happy Paws, made more than $4,000 in sales for the day. Other merchants reported similar success stories.
The owners of Smith Hardware said they open on the day, not so much to make money, but as a way of being able to thank their customers, through giveaways during the day, for shopping there throughout the year.
One of the more touching stories came from the Saugerties Area Council of Churches’ food pantry. Marilyn Richardson, who operates the food pantry and manned a table in front of the council’s thrift store, The Well on Partition Street, said she sold $1,080 in raffle tickets on Sunday, which will enable her to buy food for area needy families.
Richardson said $500 of that amount came from a local couple, who wished to remain anonymous, who said that rather than give each other Christmas presents this year, they purchased $500 worth of raffle tickets for each other.
“We thought that was a really nice story,” Richardson said.
“Sunday’s events were a really nice way to show off what the village has to offer,” Murphy said. “It made me proud to be a part of this community.”