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Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager

FOR ONE FINAL time, Shirley Fulton, center, joined the onlookers at Livingston Manor’s tree lighting for one last round of “Oh, Christmas Tree.” Helping her pep up the crowd were Leon Siegel, far left, Barry Foster, 10-year-old Victoria Taggart and 10-year-old Kim Verderame.

Last Lighting for Fultons,
But Not for the Manor

By Jeanne Sager
LIVINGSTON MANOR — December 9, 2003 – Manor residents caroled out the end of an era Friday evening.
After 28 holiday celebrations put together by longtime residents George and Shirley Fulton, the townspeople spent one last evening on the grounds of the couple’s Waterwheel Junction munching on cookies and waiting for Santa.
The Fultons have been at the heart of many of Manor’s longstanding traditions.
Shirley is the driving force behind the annual Strawberry Festival each summer, held, once again, at Waterwheel Junction, the home of George’s surveying business and Shirley’s Wildlife Gift Shop.
They remember when the electric company would come into town and decorate a tree for the community, then light it up for all to see.
“You could see it from all over town,” Shirley recalled.
But after years of hard work, the Fultons have decided to slow down and hand the reins over to the rest of the community.
“They did a lot for this community,” said local businessman Barry Foster. “Since 1975, they’ve graciously given a lot of money and time and space.
“Thanks to George and Shirley for all that they’ve done.”
Foster said the events will go on, with sponsorship from the Livingston Manor Rotary Club and the hamlet’s chamber of commerce.
But many of the folks gathered under the towering pine in Waterwheel Junction drew in a breath of shock at Foster’s announcement.
“It just won’t be the same,” said Elinor Banks, “but I guess nothing stays the same.”
“That’s progress,” added Ena Cinque.
The two dropped by to “get into the holiday spirit,” Cinque said – that’s what the Manor tree lighting has always been about for them.
And with caring residents who turn out every year to take part in the event – from the Rotary Club and Time Warner Cable who help sponsor the event to the “cookie ladies” who bake for days to provide enough sweet goodness for everyone to enjoy – there will never be a lack of Christmas spirit in Livingston Manor.

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