Despite a cold, damp fog that hung over the village of Saugerties for much of Sunday, Dec. 6, more than 1,000 people filled Main and Partition streets to take part in the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Holiday in the Village celebration.
The highlight of the daylong event was the huge toy give-a-way by Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors, assisted by employees and dozens of volunteers.
“This year we gave away $17,000 worth of toys,” Siracusano said, including more than 120 bicycles.
The first number chosen for the bike give-away was six-year-old Lancing Carney, a first grader at Cahill Elementary. He walked between two rows of bikes at the Reis Parking lot looking for the perfect choice, settling on a yellow bike, “because my other one is green.” Carney said he could hardly wait to take the new bike out and ride it with friends.
On the other side of Main St., the Kiersted House offered kids a chance to sit on Santa’s lap. Harry Block, husband of village historian Marjorie Block, has played Santa for the last eight years. He said it’s something he looks forward to each year. “It’s what I do,” Block said with a smile. “I really enjoy it.”
The house, which is the seat of the Historical Society, hosted a special display of photos of current and former service members from Saugerties. Marjorie Block said about 1,200 people came through the house to view the pictures of the 60 servicemen and women on display. “We gave away 250 cups of hot chocolate, pounds of cookies, six pounds of lollipops, 90 chocolate lollipops and about 150 candy canes,” Block said.
Revolutionary War re-enactor Bill Nieffer and his wife, Cathy, were on hand to talk about life as a soldier and as a family during the war.
Also at the Kiersted House was Jon Whitaker, of the area Boy Scouts, who is forming a new village Cub Scout pack along with the Saugerties American Legion Post 72. The pack will meet at the Legion and the parents of any young boy who would like to sign their son up can contact Whitaker at (845) 339-0846.
Another popular stop in the village was the Reformed Church on Main St., which was selling soup or chili and a sandwich for $5.
“This is one of our major fundraisers for the year,” said church treasurer Joanne Gondstal. “We’ve been doing this for 15 years, and not only does it help us raise funds but it also helps bring attention to the church.”
One of the really big draws were the hay wagon rides provided by the Mayone family from the Mayone Farm in Glasco. Carol Ann Mayone said the family expected to give rides to more than 800 people.
“The horses love it,” Mayone said, “especially their spa day before the Holiday in the Village.”
She said a spa day for the six draft horses that pull the wagons included a “tubbie” (a bath) and “petties” (trimming and buffing their hooves). After the horses are taken care of, the wagons are decorated.
The Saugerties Public Library held its annual Festival of Trees, in which groups and individuals decorate trees and the public gets to vote on which one they think is the best. This year’s winner came from the Mount Marion Fire Department.
And at the end of the day, fire departments and companies from Ulster and Greene counties that spent hours decorating their trucks with displays and lights paraded through the village and up to Seamon Park, where Village Trustee Jeannine Mayer read the “Night Before Christmas” and all the lights at the park were lit.
This year’s Parade of Lights winners were Leeds Fire Company from Greene County, C.A. Lynch Hose Company and the Glasco Fire Department.