Volunteers are preparing for the arrival of the town’s most important guest of the year.
Of course, it’s Jolly ol’ Saint Nick himself.
How will he arrive this year? How will he top himself again with his grand entrance?
Well, your guess is as good as anyone’s. It’s the best-kept secret in town with details only shared amongst a handful of people under a level of security rivaling the CIA.
“I’m not saying a word so don’t even try,” warned Deputy Town Clerk Lynn Sehwerert, who has been involved with Santa’s arrival as part of the Christmas Eve Committee for years. “My husband doesn’t even know.”
It takes a significant work behind the scenes from the talented carpenters who design and build the parade floats to lining up musicians to herald Santa’s arrival to working out small, but nice touches such as installing red gels on some of the street lights around the Village Green. That detail takes coordination with Central Hudson and borrowing a bucket truck from a neighboring town.
Sehwerert noted that people pitch in to make sure the arrival happens as planned.
Scores of volunteers get involved to help the town get into the spirit for the event, including the Christmas Tree, which was donated by Jim Monserrate and installed with the help of the Geezer Corps, LA Tree Service and employees of the town highway and maintenance departments. Even the star is on loan from a gracious Woodstocker.
Sehwerert said this year, more attention will be paid to moving people out of the street as the parade begins. Last year, the crowd was large and safety was a concern.
Volunteers will also distribute some stockings from the parade so small children get a chance to get one before a large crowd waits on line at the green to meet Santa.
Sehwerert said she understands many people leave the area after the parade to go back home with their families and it will save them from having to wait or move through the crowds.
CVS Manager Dave Guido arranged for the donation of candy canes to be included in stockings that are distributed to children when Santa arrives.
But Christmas Eve Committee volunteers aren’t done once Santa leaves. There’s cleanup and there’s distribution of cheer baskets to those who are homebound and can’t come to the Village Green.
When should we get there?
Carolers will assemble in front of the Dutch Reformed Church a bit after 4 p.m.
The streets close around 5 p.m. after allowing the Trailways bus to drop off and pick up passengers. The parade and Santa’s arrival is around 5:30 regardless of rain, sleet, snow or any other precipitation. The jolly man can’t reschedule. He’s got a busy night.
Donations graciously accepted
The Christmas Eve program costs over $10,000 each year.
Contributions can be made at the Mid-Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union branch at 85 Mill Hill Road or at the Town Clerk’s office. The committee also accepts suggestions for cheer basket recipients.++