Although the snow was sparse, holiday cheer was plentiful at the 34th Annual Cazenovia Christmas Walk and Village Tree Lighting, Dec. 2. More than 1,000 residents from Cazenovia and the surrounding area gathered downtown for caroling and the ceremonial lighting of the village tree, a Norway Spruce on the front lawn of the First Presbyterian Church.
“On evenings like this, with great community events like this, it reminds us what a special place Cazenovia is and how blessed we are to live in such a great community,” said Cazenovia Village Mayor Kurt Wheeler. “We want to keep it that way, and we want to make it even greater. Thank you all for being here, and enjoy the Christmas Walk.”
The Cazenovia High School Chamber Choir led the crowd through seasonal classics, as well as the traditional “12 Days of Christmas,” with guest emcee Becky Palmer from B104.7 and Jean Dally. Local personality Carmen Chavarria performed a classic “Silent Night,” which was heard by all, thanks to the new sound system recently purchased by the Greater Cazenovia Are Chamber of Commerce with donated funds from Oneida Savings Bank.
Before illuminating the 70-foot-tall tree full of lights, Wheeler welcomed the community and threw the switch with a special guest — Santa Claus.
Village shops kept their lights on and doors open until 9 p.m. for strolling shoppers and numerous organizations lined the sidewalks, offering treats, refreshments and holiday cheer. After helping the mayor light the tree, Santa set up at Hunt Real Estate’s Albany Street office and visited with young children hoping to make edits to their wish lists. Also at Hunt was a very special “giving tree” where residents were able to decorate the branches with warm mittens, socks and hats, to be donated to CazCares.
Also collecting garments for the local food panty and community closet were members of the Cazenovia Rotary Club. From 6 to 8 p.m., representatives stood outside M&T Bank, gathering warm clothing, gloves and hats.
The streets were filled with holiday music, as members of the Cazenovia Community Band played for onlookers and familiar tunes rang out from storefronts. A woodwind trio of Cazenovia High School band students, under the guidance of director Kevin Johnson, entertained patrons of Common Grounds and Dave’s Diner following the tree lighting.
Over at the Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, more than 25 community vendors, college students and staff set up their wares for display and purchase as part of the school’s second annual Craft Fair from 5 to 8 p.m. Residents were able to find bargain deals on handmade items, art and special gifts for the upcoming holiday season. After last year’s inaugural sale, those who set up tables were eager to have another chance at selling their goods.
Gallery director Jen Pepper said turning the craft fair into an annual event was an easy decision, and looks forward to next year.
With the 34-year-old tradition growing stronger each year, the 35th annual Christmas Walk and Village Tree Lighting promises to be another remarkable event next December.
Pierce Smith is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at 434-8889 ext. 338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.