By Jeanne Sager
SULLIVAN COUNTY December 21, 2001 All the good boys and girls of Sullivan County can count on one thing this year Santa wont lose his way this Christmas.
Hundreds of residents will be spending the weekend setSting out milk jugs with candles inside to light the way down the roads of the county from the Town of Rockland to the Town of Forestburgh.
Known as the Luminaria, the project has been going on since 1982 when Hankins residents Jill and Charlie Pinder decided to line their front lawn with sandwich bags filled with sand and a small 15-hour candle.
The lights were just a way to get into the holiday spirit and make their home look a little more festive, Charlie said, but the idea soon caught on and neighbors in the Town of Fremont began helping set out candles along the roadsides in Hankins.
Each year the project got a little bigger, with different folks agreeing to take on different roads in the area, Charlie explained.
And each year the couple learned a new trick.
After some bad experiences with rainy weather, they switched to gallon jugs which could better protect the candles.
And after years of spending large amounts of money in the supermarket purchasing the candles, the Pinders learned they could be purchased from the manufacturer for a fraction of the cost.
And when the Pinders were unable to head up the project themselves, George and Barbara Hahn of Jeffersonville were ready and willing to take over the task in 1992.
My husband and I took a ride on Christmas Eve through Fremont and he fell in love with the idea, Barbara said. He brought it to the [Jeffersonville Area] Chamber of Commerce, and said it would be a good community thing to do.
The idea spread like wildfire from there. This year there will be 35 continuous miles of lights in Jeffersonville, North Branch, Callicoon Center and Youngsville, not to mention individual Luminaria strings set out in Woodbourne, Bethel, Livingston Manor, Roscoe, Hasbrouck, Forestburgh, Cochecton, Lake Huntington and the Fremont area.
Its really caught on, Barbara noted. Its such a nice thing to do the peacefulness and solitude of it and the people of the community coming together.
* * *
Heres a list of most of the Luminaria which will be set up across the county this holiday season:
Town of Bethel Beginning at the Town Square in Kauneonga Lake, the Luminaria will be set up along West Shore Road to the Woodstock site. Additional lights will line some of Horseshoe Lake Road from the Kauneonga Speedway to Laymon Road.
Town of Cochecton The lights will start at Bernas Road and run from Route 17B down Devils Road to Nearing Road. Travelers can then make a right onto Shortcut Road and follow the lights toward Cochecton Center, to the Lava Firehouse and down Route 97 throught Narrowsburg. The Luminaria will end on the bridge to Pennsylvania.
Town of Delaware One set of Luminaria will run from Fremont Street in Callicoon down through town and over the bridge. Another set will be put up near the Methodist Church, and some more candles are expected to be lit on Route 97 between town and the Holy Cross Church.
Town of Fallsburg Luminaria will be lit on Hasbrouck Road as far as the Neversink Reservoir and on a number of side roads including Cypert, Moore, Rose, Clark A and Benton Hollow.
Town of Forestburgh Luminaria will be set up along St. Josephs Hill Road.
Town of Fremont Candles will line a portion of County routes 93, 94 and 95.
Town of Neversink Hastings Drive and Hastings Court will be lit up by the Luminaria this year.
Town of Rockland The lights will be set out from the start of Beaverkill Road in Livingston Manor to the Town Barn. In Roscoe, the candles will line Main Street and Highland Avenue.
* * *
Other Luminaria will be set up across the county. A trip out across any part of the county this holiday is bound to uncover at least one or two displays.