Holiday season

The festive season kicks off in Westfield | News, Sports, Jobs

Santa Claus and Mrs Claus (aka Mark and Debra Puckhaber) are pictured arriving in Westfield in the back of a 1997 Camaro convertible.

WESTFIELD — The weekend before Thanksgiving has long been the kickoff to the festive season in Westfield.

The weekend started with the Hall of Christmas shopping experience at Eason Hall to showcase local businesses. It has evolved over the years to include artisans and charities selling and showcasing their goods and services. Prior to the event, Eason Hall is decorated by Village Beautification Manager Marilyn Hemmer and her principal assistant, her husband and Chautauqua County legislator John Hemmer. Hemmer has been organizing the event for many years.

Carriage rides offer visitors a brief tour of the city at no cost, this year sponsored by the Westfield Vendors and Women’s Organisation. The Westfield Electric Company lights up the town with stars on the poles while the downtown park features the gazebo (recently painted by the Westfield-Mayville Rotary Club), the tree and, new this year, pole trees. Downtown merchants decorate their stores with Christmas lights and decorations, many offer discounts and Christmas gift ideas.

On Friday evening, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus went to Moore Park on Main and Portage streets to light the village Christmas tree. In previous years, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus have arrived by tractor, electric truck, grape picker and truck – it’s always a surprise. This year, they arrived on a red 1997 Camaro convertible that had been outfitted with Christmas lights. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus made their way through the crowds, waving to people along the way from the clock to the gazebo. After the tree lights were turned on, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus posed for photos with children with the help of YWCA elves who handed out bags of cookies and candy canes.

On Saturday, the Hot Toddy crawl and punch cards took people to many stores, the library, the Lake Shore Center for the Arts and restaurants. Music was provided by Rosie’s Workshop. As darkness descended, the Let There be Light Parade began from the parking lot of Westfield Academy and Central School heading west on Main Street, led by the Westfield Police Department. There was a grandstand for the judges and the Chautauqua Sunrise TV crew set up in front of the Methodist Church. Doc Hamels and his sidekick Rick Mascaro continued to comment with County Executive PJ Wendell contributing rhetoric.

The parade winners were, first place, Christmas Vacation, second place, Lakeshore Assembly of God Church and a tie for third place between Main Diner and Sandy Brown’s VW Bug. The parade was sponsored by Kevin and Kim Doughrity of Grace and Abe’s on Portage Street.

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