Head to Jeffersonville for a holiday extravangza
By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE You can skip the screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” this holiday season. Just head to downtown Jeffersonville where they’re putting Bedford Falls to shame.
The James Dworetsky Holiday Parade, the official start to the county’s Hannukah and Christmas celebration, takes on a double duty this year to introduce the Jeffersonville Main Street Committee’s second-ever holiday extravaganza.
Begun last year to promote the village in conjunction with a “shop local” marketing campaign, the four-week-long festival is back with a full slate of activities.
“Mother Nature wasn’t kind to us last year,” said Vivian Hung, co-owner of Global Home and one of the chief organizers of the Main Street event. “We learned from that, so every weekend we have events planned on both days.
“That way, no matter when you come to town, there will be something for you and the family to do.”
Shopping is naturally the highlight of the holiday season, but it will be supplemented each week with pictures sessions with Santa (taken by acclaimed photographers Edward Addeo and Charles Maraia) every Sunday in Santa’s Workshop, horse and carriage or hay rides every Saturday and events ranging from mosaic-making classes to storytime with Mrs. Claus.
The businesses themselves will get into the spirit with holiday discounts and events of their own like Goode and Plenty’s “make your own ornament” competition or Global Home’s origami crane project.
“In Japanese tradition, if one person makes 1,000 cranes, it brings good luck,” Hung explained. “I’m sort of reinterpreting that. I’ll be giving out kits to make a crane, and if people make a total of 1,000, maybe it will bring good luck for the new year here in Jeffersonville.”
The kits will cost $1 apiece with the money going back into the Main Street Jeffersonville fund to ensure the festivities will continue.
It isn’t just the businesses Hung wants to see having good luck.
The funds raised by the photographs with Santa will go to a family in need while the goods brought in at ’Specially U through Dec. 1 will be sent overseas to cheer up the troops serving far from home on the holiday.
A fair amount of the events will be free of charge for families who might not have the extra cash to throw around this year from the parade itself to caroling, ceramic painting at Catskill Country Ceramics and old-fashioned printing press demonstrations at Echo Letterpress.
Hung said the idea is that people who may not have time to explore Jeffersonville the rest of the year will stop and look around when they rush into town to fill a prescription or grab a loaf of bread.
“A lot of people don’t realize the great services and business we have in Jeff,” she said. “Maybe they’ll walk around and discover how great the local places are.
“Though gas has dropped, there’s no point in going to Middletown to do your shopping,” she continued. “Why not stay here? Why not spend your money locally?”
And why not be part of the local community?
The maps and schedules available at businesses throughout the village and online at www.jeffersonvillemainstreet.com list the special services available at the Jeff churches too, including the U2charist, a service on Dec. 13 at the First Lutheran Church set entirely to the music of U2.
Those out of the box ideas are commonplace in Jeffersonville, Hung said. They’re why she’s happy to have a business there, happy to be part of the community.
“The great thing about Jeffersonville is the people,” she said. “They’re very open and friendly. The relationship up and down Main Street is neighbor to neighbor. It’s not just the commerce and services here, it’s the actual community.”
The kick off begins with pictures with Santa from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at Santa’s Workshop, beside the Three Chocolateers on Main Street. It will be followed by the parade at 7 p.m. (note, Santa will not be at the firehouse after the parade this year, so get there early to take a picture with Santa and help a family in need).