Take 131 bicycles, dozens of TVs, dolls, footballs and assorted other toys. Add 50 baseball gloves and balls. Combine that with 42 wreathes and garland. Throw in about 1500 light bulbs and add one large Christmas tree.
That’s the recipe for the biggest Holiday in the Village celebration that Saugerties has ever held, scheduled for Sunday, December 4 from noon to 6 p.m.
Holiday in the village
The event, the Saugerties Chamber of Commerce’s way of kicking off the holiday season, is an effort unlike any other in the region.
There will be hayrides around the village provided by Ray Mayone and his family (they start near the front of the Boys and Girls Club on Partition Street). There will be strolling carolers and cartoon characters. Businesses throughout the village will be open, ready to meet all gift-giving needs, and maybe serving a bit of egg nog or hot chocolate as well.
Santa Claus will be listening to youngsters’ requests, and handing out cookies and candy canes at the Kiersted House, where there will also be tours of the historic home. The Saugerties Library on Washington Street will have its annual festival of the trees, refreshments, live music, and craft-making for kids. The Saugerties unit of the Boys and Girls Club will host a craft show, as will the open space in front of ‘Cue on Partition Street.
Members of the Saugerties Key Club will be strolling the village dressed as cartoon characters.
Without question, the most popular part of Holiday in the Village is the huge toy giveaway sponsored by Sawyer Motors in the Reis parking lot. Each year, Bob Siracusano and his elves give away dozens of bicycles, TVs, tablets, and toys. This year Siracusano has topped himself. He has usually been giving away 70 or 80 bikes. This year he will be giving away a remarkable total of 131.
This year more than $18,000 was raised to pay for the raffle, including gifts from Elna Magnetics, Sawyer Savings Bank, Sawyer Chevrolet, Ward Backus Collision, the Saugerties Kiwanis Club, and a grant from the Hudson Valley Foundation for Youth Health.
Kevin Hinchey, owner of the Saugerties Stallions’ college league baseball team, has donated 50 baseball gloves and 50 balls, Siracusano said.
Light poles, lights and wreaths
Forty-two wreathes and garland will decorate 42 light poles along Main, Partition and Market streets. That’s thanks to the Village of Saugerties trustees, mayor William Murphy, and the hard work of the village Department of Parks, Buildings and Playgrounds.
The Saugerties Fire Department has replaced bulbs and strung more lights, outlining the buildings along Main and Partition streets.
The Saugerties Kiwanis Club, aided by the Ulster County sheriff’s work program and the parks department, has strung more than 15,000 lights in Seamon Park.
If that’s not enough lights to dazzle your holiday, at 5 p.m., the Saugerties Fire Department, Diaz Ambulance and fire departments from around the county will take part in the annual Parade of Lights. The participating departments compete to see who can decorate their truck with the most lights. They parade through downtown Saugerties on their way to Seamon Park, where village trustee Jeannine Mayer will kick off the season with the reading of The Night Before Christmas.
The Cimorelli Christmas tree
It wouldn’t be a Holiday in the Village celebration without a giant Christmas tree in the center of the village. Thanks to Gloria Cimorelli of Glasco, there is a beautiful tree in Reis Park.
“I’m very happy that I could give the tree to people who would like it,” Cimorelli said.
She and her late husband Angelo planted the tree next to their Glasco home more than 20 years ago, along with another pine tree on the other side of their home. That second tree died. The tree now in Reis Park was left all alone, “so I thought I’d donate it, and make people happy,” Cimorelli explained.
While Angelo and his family grew up in Saugerties, Gloria was a native of Queens. They met, fell in love, and got married. They moved into the family home in Glasco in the early 1950s after living in Queens for a year.
“Neither of us drove,” Gloria recalled, “so I asked him, Angelo, how are we going to get around up there? There was nothing up here at the time, no public transportation like in Queens. So he says, We’ll get a bicycle built for two. I said, the heck with that and went and got my driver’s license so we could get around up here.”
Over the years the family grew, and so did that little pine tree. This past Monday, workers from the village’s Department of Public Works cut the tree down, moved it up Route 9W, and set it up in Reis Park so that everyone can enjoy its beauty just like Gloria and Angelo did for all those years.