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Hamburgh Holidays ends 2013 with a bang

HAMBURG — Hamburg bustled with holiday events during the latter part of 2013, thanks to the efforts of the Hamburgh Holidays Committee.

Co-chair Chris Snyder credited much of the success of the HH ventures to local partnerships, and thanked the community for its support of the HH organization’s ongoing efforts.

In 2013, Green Friday was added to the HH calendar of events, because Snyder said that the Village Business Advisory Council-run event “is a fantastic, all-day holiday for families. They are just a great fit for our calendar.”

Hamburg’s Christmas celebrations officially kicked off with the Santa Claus parade, held Nov. 30. Snyder said that the planning committee sought to reach out to those in neighboring municipalities with the parade’s theme, “welcome neighbors.”

“This isn’t just for Hamburg people,” she said. “We want more people involved; the bigger the better.”

She credited both parade regulars and new participants for keeping the parade “new and fresh. Word is beginning to get out that [the parade] is great for the community and it’s great for the businesses. It’s a win-win.”

The VBAC and HH also joined forces for the first ever Christmas in the Village event, which was held on the same day as the lighting of the star, Dec. 6.

Snyder called all of the HH events a 10, in terms of attendance and feedback, but especially noted the community’s support of the Christmas in the Village celebration.

“It was packed; we had a big crowd and festive atmosphere,” she said. “Everyone had a great time. We are absolutely going to do that again.”

This was the first year the Hamburg holiday star sported all-LED lamps. “I will remember this lighting for the rest of my life,” Snyder said. “I didn’t imagine that it could be that bright.”

She also noted that the star lighting was made even special by the arrival of light snow, minutes prior to the star’s being lit. “That, along with the breathtaking view of the newly illuminated star, made this year’s star lighting a memory-maker,” she said.

The winter castle, set up prior to Christmas in the Village, featured a collection of artwork from students at Cloverbank Elementary School.

“There was a vibrancy about the artwork in this particular collection that people noticed,” Snyder said.

This year, two local artists, Char Hall and Mary Ellen Bossert, began to restore the HH collection of holiday cutouts, some spanning as far back as 1984. Bossert actually worked on some cutouts that she herself originally painted in 1994, according to Snyder.

“They worked really hard on them,” Snyder said. “Their artwork is incredible and they do an amazing job.”

The two artists worked on the cutouts at the village department of public works barn, where most of the HH decorations are stored.

“I want to credit the staff there,” Snyder said. “We really appreciate the collaborative aspect between the Hamburg Village Board, the Hamburg DPW and the Hamburg Recreation Department. There would be no way we could do this by ourselves. They do it with such sincere enthusiasm, which is so gratifying. That means a lot to us.”

Snyder also thanked the local Lowes and Home Depot, which donated some of the paint for the holiday cutout project.

Hamburgh Holidays will hold an end-of-the-season wrapup meeting Jan. 15, to discuss the year’s events and assess each endeavor. “We will talk about how it went, what went well, and where we need to make improvements,” Snyder said, “and gather people’s ideas to make it even better. That process helps keep us always wanting to be fresh and vibrant.”

The committee will also discuss its decorations and decide if it can expand these offerings. “Decorating is huge, in terms of that whole festive ambiance that we strive so hard to achieve, every year,” Snyder said. “What [people] don’t realize is the unbelievable expense, not just purchasing them new, but maintaining them over time.”

Part of a $2,500 donation from the Russo Family Charitable Foundation to the village of Hamburg was designated to replace some of the HH pole wreaths. “That’s a great example of someone’s seeing a need and saying ‘We’ll make a contribution because we want to make these decorations look the best that they can be,’” Snyder said. “We so appreciate the Russo Foundation for that.”

The HH Committee will go on a quasi-hiatus until August, when its kickoff meeting will be held. At that time, Snyder said that participants will make a pitch for new volunteers. “We welcome people of all ages,” she said. “It’s open to all. We believe every generation has something to contribute.”

In regard to next winter’s Santa Claus parade, Snyder said that the committee would like to focus even more on local schools. “I’m a true believer in school spirit,” she said. “I want to tap into that. When the Hamburg High School marching band comes, they’re like celebrities.”

The committee will also continue to invite neighboring municipalities to participate in the Santa Claus parade.

The parade committee will decide on this year’s theme in August.

The committee’s 58 holiday cutouts will continue to be restored, this year, as Bossert and Hall have confirmed their participation in that ongoing effort.

Next holiday will again feature Christmas in the Village; Snyder said that this event went so well that it will be an annual Hamburg celebration. “It was such a great night,” she said. “Now we have ideas about how to make it even better.”

This year’s Hamburg Historical Society holiday event will be held in that organization’s new facility. More information about that move will be printed in an upcoming edition of The Sun.

Snyder thanked J.P. Fitzgerald’s for allowing the committee to hold its meetings in the restaurant’s banquet room, this year.

“They were extremely welcoming and accommodating,” she said.

Next year’s kickoff meeting will be announced in The Sun and on the village of Hamburg’s website. “We need new people every year to keep us vibrant and fresh,” Snyder said. “We are always taking new members. Just come to the kickoff meeting in August.”

To participate in the Hamburgh Happenings Committee’s endeavors, call the Hamburg Village Hall at 649-0200 and ask for Snyder or co-chair Paul Gaughan. Monetary donations may be dropped at the village hall or sent to 100 Main St., Hamburg, NY 14075.

For more information, visit the village of Hamburg’s website at www.villageofhamburg.com or the Hamburgh Holidays website at www.hamburgholidays.org/events.
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