Saugerties’ annual Holiday in the Village celebration returns on Sunday, Dec. 8 from noon to 6 p.m. bringing family-friendly festivities all throughout the streets of the village. Ten thousand dollars worth of toys will be given away by free raffle ticket and approximately 40 local merchants will open their doors with special discounts for shoppers and free holiday goodies for the kids. So much is going to go on, in fact, that the sponsoring Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce has arranged for roaming elves to be out and about on the streets handing out leaflets with the days’ activities listed so that nobody misses out on anything. But in case the pointy-eared pixies don’t come your way, allow us to be your guide.
12 p.m.— The mood will be set at the Reis parking lot at Main and Market streets with holiday music put forth by DJ Crazy Frog. He’ll be there all day. Disney characters will roam the streets, meeting and greeting and providing photo ops. The historic Kiersted House will open its doors, welcoming visitors with free hot chocolate and cookies inside and a petting zoo on the lawn outside. Oh, and that Santa guy will be at the Kiersted, too.
Outside of ‘Cue restaurant at 136 Partition St., a dozen or so vendors of crafts and holiday merchandise will set up with an outdoor marketplace selling unique items for gift-giving. The Boys & Girls Club at 45 Partition St. will offer face painting for kids.
The Saugerties Public Library at 91 Washington Ave. will host the annual Festival of Trees from noon to 4 p.m., with refreshments and crafts for kids. To participate, sign up at the library’s circulation desk to contribute an artificial tree for the event, as long as it’s less than 36 inches tall. No lights are permitted as decoration, and trees must be labeled with the donating individual or organization’s name. Trees can be dropped off any time the library is open through Saturday, Dec. 7. Trees must be picked up again by Saturday, Dec. 14, or the tree can be donated to a local organization. Visitors to the library will vote on their favorite, and a donation to the local Food Pantry will be made in the winner’s name.
1 p.m. — Free horse-drawn wagon rides begin at the Village Fire House at 1 p.m., courtesy of Ray Mayone, and the first of three toy giveaway raffles will be held at the Reis parking lot, to be followed by a second raffle at 2:30 p.m. and another at 4 p.m.
The Toy Giveaway is really at the heart of Holiday in the Village. Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors is the organizing force behind it, and when it comes to rallying the troops, he’s not shy about getting donations for the worthy cause from other local businesses and then making sure that kids who might otherwise miss out are there to benefit. “I reach out to schools and churches and different organizations that work with children that really need something for Christmas,” he says, “and then we try to make sure they show up on Sunday.”
The Toy Giveaway is made possible through generous donations from many local businesses and organizations, says Siracusano, notably Sawyer Savings Bank, the Kiwanis, Ward Backus Collision and the Village Apothecary. “But I just mentioned a handful there – I have a lot of people in town who give smaller amounts, whatever they can.
“It seems like whenever we get involved with anything, we have the support from our community, the business people and all our sponsors,” he says. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you can give all this stuff away and you know all you have to do is pick up a phone and ask for support and it’s there. We’re so grateful for the community that we live in.”
The raffle tickets are given to children at no cost. “Everyone has a shot at winning a toy,” Siracusano says. “Come by the Reis lot before noon, before it’s all handed out, and I promise you’ll be amazed by what you see. It’ll make your day.”
Several thousand kids are expected to participate in the raffle with a chance to win one of 100 bicycles and over $10,000 worth of toys in all.