Sullivan County Democrat
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Luminaria – And
Its Viewers – Return

By Jeanne Sager
Editor’s Note: While you’re out enjoying a Sullivan County tradition tonight, please remember to KEEP YOUR HEADLIGHTS ON. Last year, several people were seriously injured in a car accident caused by the lack of headlight use. If you want to see the luminaria without the glare of headlights, pull far off the road and come to a complete stop before hitting that light switch. Let’s not ruin our own or someone else’s holiday with recklessness!
And to our readers who used to enjoy a map of the planned luminaria routes, we’re sorry, but the event has gotten just too massive to adequately illustrate graphically. Trust us, you’ll find luminaria easily enough this year!

SULLIVAN COUNTY — December 24, 2002 – Santa Claus won’t lose his way through Sullivan County this year.
Luminaria set up Christmas Eve throughout the county ought to lead the jolly old man on his way through the countryside this year – with candles lining the roads from Fremont to Forestburgh.
The lights have been a county tradition for 20 years. In 1982, 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 spread like wildfire – or maybe candlelight. Soon the Pinders’ neighbors in the Town of Fremont began helping set out candles along the roadsides near Hankins.
Each year the project got a little bigger, with different folks agreeing to take on different roads in the area, Charlie explained. 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.
The Hahns say this will be their last year – they’ve been making sure jugs of light lead drivers throughout the Town of Callicoon for 10 years, but they’re leaving a hearty tradition in their wake.
The Luminaria have become projects for communities across the county, with small groups of neighbors lining their section of town or large organizations taking over a portion of the county’s byways.
“You can look at it in many ways,” said George Hahn. “Some people look at it from the religious aspect, and others just think it’s pretty.”
“There’s serenity to it,” Barbara added.
Here’s an overview of planned projects in the county, but be sure to check out other roads in the area for impromptu Luminaria:
• Hortonville – Lights will begin at the corner of Rte. 17B and North Branch Road and run toward North Branch for approximately 3 miles (ending around the Larry Knack home). Another string will run from North Branch Road up County Road 131 to the Hortonville Presbyterian Church, and lights will branch off the main route over the bridge in Hortonville and up and down the hamlet’s streets.
• Monticello – Mickey Mulvey, along with family and friends, will be responsible for 8 miles worth of lights – up from 1.2 miles last year. The candles will be placed along a 2-mile stretch of Cold Spring Road, 2 miles down Route 42, 2 miles of Cantrell Road and 2 miles of Dingle Daisy Road in Monticello.
• Forestburgh – St. Joseph’s Hill in the town is traditionally covered in lights on Christmas Eve.
• Town of Callicoon – Luminaria will be scaled back a bit this year in the towns of Delaware and Callicoon because of an accident in the Beechwoods area, but lights will still be set up from Jeffersonville to Callicoon Center, North Branch and Youngsville, and many will be set up on back roads heading toward Callicoon. Folks can be sure to find candles on the Jeff-North Branch Road, along County Road 125 to Callicoon Center, and along Route 52 and Main Street in Jeffersonville.
• Town of Bethel – Candles will be set up from Kauneonga Lake along West Shore Road to its intersection with Hurd Road. Another section of lights can also be seen on Horseshoe Lake Road.
• Town of Neversink – The folks on Hastings Drive will be decorating their road this year for the holiday.
• Town of Rockland – Luminaria will be set up in Livingston Manor on Beaverkill Road and White Roe Lake Road. Highland Avenue in Roscoe will also be lit up.
• Callicoon – Lights will be set out along Creamery Road in the hamlet, down Main Street and onto the beginning of River Road. Other spots on River Road may have lights as well. Candles will also be set up on Upper Main Street in Callicoon and along Route 97 near Holy Cross Church. Due to a shortage of volunteers, lights may not adorn as much of the town as in years past, said Noreen Mudge, whose husband Skip has been the driving force behind the project in the hamlet. Mudge expects folks from the Methodist Church to take care of much of Route 97, and other volunteers may set up Luminaria in different spots throughout the town.
• Towns of Cochecton and Tusten — The lights are expected to start at Bernas Road and run from Route 17B down Devil’s 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 through Narrowsburg. The Luminaria will likely end on the bridge to Pennsylvania. Another three miles of lights will be set up after 6 p.m. on Atco Road in Pennsylvania, between routes 652 and 1003.

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