Photos by Lauren Thomas
Santa and Mrs. Claus led a procession through the Village of New Paltz this past Sunday evening for the annual Downtown New Paltz Unwrapped event. Dressed warmly in their customary red velvet regalia from head to toe, the two visited one shop after another in the chilly night air; here stopping to shake hands with a new business owner who came outside to greet them, there going inside to check out the new digs of a recently transplanted village business. Thirty or so parents and kids started off in the parade, trailing after the jolly old elf and his missus, both of whom seemed pretty much unaware that they were being followed but happily obliging for photographs when asked.
The parade started at Water Street Market following an Elf Hunt in which kids looked for the 150 plastic elves purchased by local business owner Melinda Minervini of Handmade and More. The elves must have been found quickly, because the crowd was ready to move earlier than the advertised 5 p.m. starting time for the parade, and off they went. (Perhaps now we have the secret to how Santa gets to everyone’s house on one night; he gets an early start.)
Downtown New Paltz Unwrapped marks the official unveiling of each shop’s holiday window displays. The original idea of calling the event “New Paltz Unwrapped” came about because in the past, shop windows were wrapped with brown paper to keep the decor a secret until the last minute. But unfortunately, that practice led shoppers to think that a store with paper-wrapped windows was going out of business; hardly the impression a shop owner wants to give at the holidays, especially. So now the windows are decorated and left for all to see, but the name of the official unveiling remains, simply because organizers like the name and it still seems to signify the kickoff of the holidays, said Julie Safran, owner of the shops Verde and Cocoon and a member of the committee organizing the event.
The promenade accompanying Santa and Mrs. C. traveled up and down Main Street, where each shop with decorated windows was stopped at and proprietors came out with cookies for the Clauses, or discount cards for the paraders. Some stormtroopers from Star Wars were even on hand in front of Dragon Realm to keep the peace (presumably). The parade followers lessened in number as the walk went on, but those staying the course eventually turned right on Church Street and ended on North Front Street, where Santa and Mrs. Claus went inside Handmade and More to admire the Christmas tree ornaments, then went across the street to the area in front of Nora’s Cottage, where hot cocoa was offered from thermoses and an acoustic guitarist sang an original Christmas song.
Town of Lloyd
The Town of Lloyd will hold its annual Light Up the Hamlet holiday celebration on Friday, December 11 from 6-8:30 p.m. The streets will be closed off to traffic, creating a nostalgic town square atmosphere. Parents and kids alike will be able to walk freely about the hamlet, partaking of hot cocoa and cookies.
The jolly old elf will make his grand entrance by fire truck at 6:15 p.m. to light the Christmas tree. Making his way to his makeshift quarters for the evening at Santa’s Workshop across the street from the tree, he’ll be available for photos. Kids waiting their turn to talk to Santa can munch on popcorn and watch classic seasonal movies, or do some crafts and fun activities sponsored by From Stage to Screen.
The Evergreen Chorus will sing carols at 7:30 p.m. and there may be a performance by the high school choir, as well (Not all the activities were definite as of press time: a hint, though… something really fun is in the works sponsored by the Boy Scouts.)
Admission is free.
And don’t forget to bring a letter for Santa.
It takes more than a little cold weather to deter Rosendale from defining itself as the “Festival Town,” and its year-round roster of festive events continues unabated on Saturday, December 12 with Main Street’s annual Frozendale celebration. And this year it’s going to be “better than ever before, with more businesses involved,” says photographer Laurie Giordano, who assists massage therapist Jesse Scherer in organizing the grassroots event.
Frozendale runs all day long, with the Alternative Baker handing out free hot cider and cookies beginning at 7 a.m. At 9 a.m., the ImmuneSchein Tea Haus will offer tea and cookies; Victoria Gardens will give out free treats as well, and conduct wreathmaking lessons on the half-hour until 6 p.m. Yoga Yoga will raise funds for refugees in Europe with a 9:30 a.m. class and a crafts fair from noon to 4 p.m. At 10 a.m. the Rosendale Library will open its Holiday Booktique, and Ann Van Damm will read holiday stories for children there until 10:30. A tattoo art show will open at 11 a.m. at Guts ‘n’ Glory Ink, and rumor has it that a wild Krampus will be lurking about the premises.
Frozendale’s annual Winter Gift Sale gets underway at noon at several venues, definitely including the Creative Co-op and TRANSnDANCEnDRUM and probably also the new apothecary shop next door to the Red Brick Tavern, according to Giordano. Also at noon, Visions of Tibet will offer tea and raffles, cookie-decorating will begin at the Rosendale Café and the Town of Rosendale will repeat its annual tradition of handing out free collectible mugs decorated with the municipal logo and filled with hot cocoa. The venue for that had not yet been determined at presstime, Giordano says, “but I do know that they ordered mugs!”
What with all this traipsing up and down Main Street, by 1 p.m. you should be working up an appetite for more than cookies; luckily, that’s when the Garden House will begin selling stuffed baked potatoes for $3 each, cooked in the wood-fired outdoor hearth in the restaurant’s front garden. At 2 p.m. you have your choice of catching a free matinée screening of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? at the Rosendale Theatre or bringing your pet into the Paws & Tail Pantry for a pawprint mold.
Happy Hour at the 1850 House starts at 4 p.m., as will the Redwing Blackbird Theater’s puppet performance The Punch Opera Street Show. Half an hour later the Rosendale Improvement Association Brass Band and Social Club will begin cranking out the Dixieland tunes in front of TRANSnDANCEnDRUM. And don’t forget to make time to pick up your free bag of coal at Soiled Doves! You can carry it, along with your gift shopping, in one of the snazzy royal-blue reusable totebags that are being given away as souvenirs of Frozendale 2015, emblazoned with graphics of snowflakes and the Rondout Trestle along with a list of the event’s sponsoring businesses.
But the pièce de résistance is bound to be the annual Mac & Cheese Bake-Off, hosted (of course) by the Big Cheese and judged by two real judges: incumbent Rosendale town justice William Pape and the recently retired Robert Vosper. Anyone can enter and compete for the prizes donated by local businesses; you just have to fill out an entry form and drop off your cheesy masterpiece between 4:30 and 4:50 p.m. that Saturday. The taste-testing gets underway at 5 p.m. sharp, and spectators are invited to consume all the entries after the winners are announced. “It’s a food-feed frenzy after the judging’s done,” says Giordano.
For Bake-Off entry forms, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also use that address if you’re interested in volunteering for the event. “We’re earnestly looking for a Santa right now,” to take over for the retiring Bill Brooks, Giordano reports. Santa will sit on a “throne” at the Redwing Blackbird Theater for photo ops with kids.
For more details on Frozendale 2016, visit www.facebook.com/Frozendale-in-Rosendale-121215-854340541275188/?pnref=story.
The annual Town of Gardiner Christmas caroling through the Hamlet will take place this Friday, December 4 at 7 p.m. The festive event will start at the Gardiner Gables and end at Town Hall, where Santa will make a special appearance and the tree will be lit. Bring a flashlight and dress warmly. The event is sponsored by the Gardiner Day Committee. Organizers will also be collecting new toys for Toys For Tots.
The Friends of the Gardiner Library will hold their annual holiday sale of poinsettias, wreaths and baked good this Saturday, December 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the library’s community room, located at 133 Farmer’s Turnpike in Gardiner.
For additional information, call 255-9675.