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Christmas in the City

December 6, 2014 - 7:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, downtown, BID, Christmas in the City.

Hundreds of people lined Main Street in Downtown Batavia on Friday night for the Christmas parade that was the highlight of a successful Christmas in the City for 2014.

To purchase prints, click here.

December 4, 2014 - 5:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown, BID, Christmas in the City.

City workers were busy with tasks Downtown today getting things ready for Christmas in the City tomorrow evening, including making sure the snowflakes on the light poles are ready to illuminate correctly.

Tomorrow's events:

4 to 8 p.m., Photos with Santa
97 Main St.

Lighting of Downtown Christmas Tree, 5 p.m.

Horse and Wagon Rides ($1), 5 to 9 p.m.
Tickets available at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St. Proceeds benefit the Business Improvement District.

Trolley Rides to the Wonderland of Trees at the Holland Land Office Museum, 5 to 9 p.m.
Jackson Street Parking Lot (across from Valle Jewelers)
Trolley will continue throughout the night to bring people back and forth to the museum and Jackson Street parking lot. Trolley runs approximately every 15 minutes. The Holland Land Office Museum (HLOM) will be offering free refreshments for the event as well as gift baskets and discount sales in the gift shop.

GO ART!, Frosted Panes exhibit
The Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is pleased to announce its annual holiday show on exhibit through Dec. 19th in Batavia. This year's theme, "Frosted Panes," exhibits 43 pieces by 14 local artists on display in two GO ART Galleries -- the GO ART! Main Gallery in Seymour Place and at the Genesee County Senior Center on Bank Street.
A FREE Meet-the-Artists Reception will be held in conjunction with Batavia's Christmas in the City.

Batavia Concert Band, 6 p.m., City Centre

Holiday Parade, 6:30 p.m.
Parade will take place on Main Street starting at Liberty Street and ending at Jackson Street. More than 40 participants will entertain you with music, floats, singing, a juggler, fire trucks, and more! Santa will choose a child from his "Nice List" to ride with him in the Horse & Wagon!

The following Downtown businesses will be hosting special events as well:

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle -- 8 Center St.; Enjoy holiday specials, drawing/prizes, coupons, and their famous chili during the Christmas in the City festivities. Tickets for the Horse & Wagon rides may purchased inside of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. For questions, call (585) 343-0548.

Amy's Fluffy Friends -- 238 Ellicott St.; Have your pet's photo or group photos taken by Along Photography. Only $5 for a photo shoot! Amy's will also be offering a raffle with doggie treats. For questions, call (585) 343-0052.

Charles Men's Shop -- 200 E. Main St.; Stay warm and enjoy holiday discounts and warm refreshments! For questions, call (585) 343-2086.

City Slickers -- 59 Main St.; Celebrate the season with City Slickers' awesome deal with a Buy 1 Entree, Get the 2nd at Half Price. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a local band playing for the evening. Be sure to also purchase your "Dinner & a Movie" gift certificates as stocking stuffers! For questions, call (585) 345-6788.

Edward Jones -- 7 Jackson St.; Get out of the cold for a little while and enjoy a hot drink and cookies courtesy of Edward Jones. For questions, call (585) 345-1773.

Karen's Yarn, Paper, Scissors -- 39 Jackson St.; 10% holiday discounts on scrapbook paper and yarn! After the parade, stop by Karen's to get a free balloon animal courtesy of Jason the Juggler.

Marchese Computer -- 220 Ellicott St.; With coupons and refreshments, learn more about their holiday specials including computers starting at $349.99! For questions, call (585) 343-2713.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe -- 23 Jackson St.; Offering free samples of cookies. Perhaps you'll want to come back to purchase some for Santa for Christmas Eve? For questions, call (585) 344-5627.

T-Shirts, Etc. -- 111 Main St.; T-shirt coloring for kids! Holiday specials include a Buy One, Get One at 50% off. Also, be sure to visit their guest vendor, Butterfly Studio. For questions, call (585) 345-1993.

UMTOO -- 317 Ellicott St.; Will be open until 9 p.m. and will have Christmas refreshments, Christmas stories (traditional and historical), and Christmas songs by local singers who will engage people to join in singing. For questions, call (585) 993-2325.

Valle Jewelers -- 21 Jackson St.; Will be offering holiday specials for that evening only. For questions, call (585) 343-3372. 

December 1, 2014 - 3:00pm

The Holiday Parade on Main Street, 6:30 to 7 p.m.

  • Photos with Santa -- 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Stores & restaurants offering specials and entertainment -- 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Horse & wagon rides -- 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Trolley rides to the Wonderland of Trees at the Holland Land Office Museum -- 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Batavia Concert Band in Batavia City Centre -- 6 p.m.

Sponsors: PLATINUM: Alpina Foods, Java Farm Supply. GOLD: Empire Tractor, Batavia Daily News, Genesee Valley Pennysaver, Tompkins Bank of Castile, & Tompkins Insurance, Turnbull Heating & Air, WBTA Radio. SILVER: Fidelis Care NY, Freed Maxick CPAs, Holland Land Office Museum, Muller Quaker Foods, Oshlag Saleh & Earl, R.A. Haitz Co., T-Shirts Etc., The Batavian, Valle Jewelers & United Memorial Medical Center.

Another event brought to you by: Downtown Batavia Business Improvement District.
(585) 344-0900. 
For more information, visit us online at: CLICK HERE.

November 20, 2012 - 5:16pm

Press release:

Join in the holiday spirit at the Annual Christmas in City Centre from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Downtown Batavia City Centre.

On Friday, activities include entertainment by the Batavia Concert Band and a visit with Santa Claus.

On Saturday, visit with Santa Claus, be entertained by Center Stage and see the various animals at the Zoo Mobile.

The Batavia Business Improvement District wants to remind you to "Shop Small and Local" for the holidays. Remember, this Saturday, Nov. 24, is Small Business Saturday.

For more information call 585-344-2518 or visit www.downtownbataviany.com

December 3, 2010 - 7:18am
Event Date and Time: 
December 3, 2010 -
5:30pm to 6:00pm

 Jackson School Handbell Choir will perform Christmas music in Christmas in the City at the Genesee Co. Mall main stage at 5:30pm

December 25, 2009 - 12:51pm
posted by Ethan Thompson in batavia, Christmas in the City.

 I thought I would finish out the series with a bit of humor. Thank you again to everyone who stopped by The Batavian booth and said hi.

December 19, 2009 - 10:38am

The following is the third video in the "Countdown to Christmas" video series. The final videos will be posted on Christmas day.

What does Christmas mean to you? Tell us in the comment section below.

December 12, 2009 - 10:00am
posted by Ethan Thompson in Christmas in the City, Countdown to Christmas.

Here is the second video in the "Countdown to Christmas" video series. The next video will be released on Dec. 19

December 5, 2009 - 12:48pm
posted by Ethan Thompson in batavia, Christmas in the City.

Last night I went to Christmas in the City and brought along my video equipment. I interviewed around 50 people, which gave me around 45 minutes of footage. So for the next few weeks I'll be posting a new video every seven days until Christmas. On Christmas day I will post one or two longer videos. So I hope you enjoy the first installment of the "Countdown to Christmas" video series.

Thank you to all the wonderful folks that took the time to talk with me and allowed me to interview them.

January 21, 2009 - 11:32am

Earlier this morning, one of our readers, John Roach, left the following comment:

It’s a shame that after all the hard work by BID, the 5 Republicans on City Council have submitted a budget proposal that will take enough money away from city celebrations and events that it might kill the Summer/Christmas in the City.

That caught our attention, and we set out to find exactly what the City Council had planned for budget cuts that might affect future events downtown. We asked for comment from Council President Charlie Mallow and Don Burkel, director of the downtown Business Improvement District. Burkel has not yet commented. Burkel responded via e-mail at noon today:

"There should be no budget cuts for Christmas in the City, Summer in the City or any other BID activities, as this would definitely have a negative impact on the downtown businesses.  In this time of economic hardship the merchants need these events to generate activity to attract shoppers and visitors to the Batavia Business Improvement District."

Mallow responded in an e-mail:

"I was sent a proposed amendment to lower the city's contribution from a few of the council members. Council will be talking about this proposed amendment as well as the rest that were submitted on Saturday.

"From my point of view a consensus was come to on the amount of this line item in the last budget. I do not support the cut, I think its unfair and hurts the businesses downtown and I think doing anything to jeopardize either event would lower our quality of life in the city.

"The members that proposed the amendment alluded to the idea that they had a majority in favor of the cut. I find that hard to believe."

While we were waiting to hear back from Mallow and Burkel, we also spoke with a few other members of Council: Rose Mary Christian, Kathy Briggs and Bob Bialkowski.

Bialkowski, who expressed an overall optimism about the budget process this year, said: "We're not eliminating any downtown events." Instead, he said, several members of Council were looking at ways to reduce overtime costs—especially those related to the management of downtown events—to help reduce the property tax burden. While this would not "eliminate" downtown events, it would reduce the funding available for them.

According to the budget proposal prepared by the office of the city manager, actual overtime costs so far paid out in the current budget season total more than $530,000, as listed in the budget's general fund. That total does not include such special funds as water and sewer, ambulance—in which overtime costs exceed $300,000—and the mall, which for some reason is maintained as a separate fund.

Nevertheless, most of those overtime expenses fall within the budgeted amounts. In fact, both fire and police overtime costs were under. For some reason, the communications department totaled more than four times what was budgeted. To date, that department has accrued $28,612 in overtime costs, while a mere $7,000 was budgeted.

What's most apt here, however, is the overtime cost for "community celebrations," which has totaled $4,997 so far. Those are the costs that Bialkowski has called into question. He says that if the city could get more use out of volunteers for the downtown celebrations and shift the schedule for assistance from public works employees from the weekend to Friday and Monday, the cost would drop from, say, $1,000 to $500, since overtime costs would be avoided.

"I'm a big believer for volunteering for events," he said. "We're just trying to keep any property tax minimal. We're looking at all costs, trying to keep it down as low as possible."

Cutting back on overtime costs are just one way he would hope to get expenses down for the next budget season. He has proposed a list of amendments, he says, that would reduce about $70,000 in "miscellaneous items" and by sharing services and getting more time out of certain city vehicles.

Christian and Briggs said that the cuts proposed by Bialkowski and others would, in fact, cut the funding for downtown events and shift the cost burden onto the BID, which would not be able to manage, and so be forced to eliminate the events.

"Some council members have recommended cuts in this area," said Briggs in an e-mail. "One suggestion was cutting it from $3,000 to $2,000. Nothing is definite yet. In my opinion the events shouldn't be scrapped. I'm not going to support this cut. We can't expect the Business Improvement District to pick up all of the cost, and we have to have some celebrations, right!"

Christian is of the same mind. She says that she is "not one of them," referring to some other members on Council who are trying to cut the funding for downtown events. Instead of those cuts, she said that she asked for City Manager Jason Molino to see if he can cut 1 to 1 1/2 percent from elsewhere in the budget. She hopes to get an answer on where and how that might be pulled off at the session Saturday.

"We'll see if Jason can find cuts in certain areas," she said. "The budget is astronomical. It's $24 million. We have to be realistic. The economy is a disaster. The stock market is a disaster. Even the president has said, it's not up to government, it's up to us. It's up to the people to make a change."

December 16, 2008 - 8:34am
posted by Philip Anselmo in video, Holidays, Christmas in the City.

Better late than never... At Christmas in the City, here in Batavia a couple weeks back, we set up our camera and asked folks what Christmas means to them. Here's what a handful of your friends and neighbors had to say about the holiday:

December 10, 2008 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, Christmas in the City.

December 9, 2008 - 3:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, Daily News, Christmas in the City.

Festivities at this year's Christmas in the City were fervid enough to warm the people of Batavia inside and out, despite the frigid winds and snow that whipped down Main Street from time to time throughout the evening.

"It was the best one we've had so far," said Lynn Garlock, owner of Grugnale's deli and restaurant on Jackson Street. "At one point we were so busy, I thought we were going to have to start a waiting list. All the tables were filled up."

Sandwiches, subs and salads were churned out en masse. Clarinets, flutes and a capella vocals were on hand to serenade the diners. All the while, you could hear the steady clop clop as a horse and buggy trotted past the storefront, carting its mittened passengers on downtown.

Garlock was particularly taken with the talents of the Bluebells, a group of about six or seven young female vocalists from Batavia's middle and high schools. In fact, she was so fond of their singing that she has asked them back.

"We liked them so much, we're going to have them come sing during lunch," she said.

Don Burkel told us that this year was a raging success. Burkel is the director of the downtown Business Improvement District, the event's sponsor. No less than 43 vendors came out to set up a table and wares in the Batavia City Centre. Not bad, considering most years the event doesn't draw many more than 30 or so, said Burkel. Add to that all of the downtown shops who stayed put, hosted musicians and held sales.

"We had a record number of vendors," said Burkel. "It was good to see a nice turnout. ... We need to support these business people. That's the key in this economy."

Garlock's praise is typical of the business owners who participated in the event this year, whether they hosted carolers or set up in the mall. Passers-by were treated to a warm cup of chili out front of Adam Miller's Toy and Bicycle.

"We had a great night," said John Roche, the store's owner. "We had a lot of traffic, a lot of people in. And, the chili was really good."

People especially enjoyed the entertainment from the carolers and other musicians who rotated in and out of the store all evening, he said. He didn't spot a single empty seat in the horse and buggy all night.


Of course, you might not know the event was such a success—that is, if you saw the article that ran in the Daily News Saturday. Two photos ran with the article. One depicts a short stretch of Main Street out front of the mall entrance. The sidewalk is empty. The street is lined with parked cars. The caption reads: "Cold temperatures drove people off the streets during the annual Christmas in the City Friday downtown."

That can't be entirely true. A frequent contributor to The Batavian, Daniel Cherry, was not only out in the cold, but documenting the night's festivities—he posted several of his photos to the site. Cherry even snapped a few photos of the horse and buggy, which we're told ran until well after the event officially ended because so many people came out to take a ride.

As for the other photo that ran with the article, a shot inside the mall, the people in the picture are so distorted because of the poor quality of the image, that it is more likely to excite pity than joy.

One Attica resident is even quoted as saying that this Christmas in the City was "terrible." Terrible!? Despite the hundreds of people who were crowded into the mall concourse throughout the evening, she goes on to say that: "There's hardly anyone here." She also laments that there isn't enough "free" stuff.

Not everyone agreed, however. One Batavia resident judged the mall "full" of people. Another felt that "people were more excited this year."

I say we practice a little bit of that gratitude we boned up on over the Thanksgiving holiday. We may be a little too quick to stuff that altruism back down the dirty stocking of the rest of the year. Christmas in the City sure saw a lot of folks come out. There was free chili, free bread, free horse and buggy rides, free entertainment all over downtown. Santa danced around a stage in the mall with his chipper, glittered elves. So yeah, I say it was a success. How about you?

Photos taken by Brian Hillabush.

November 24, 2008 - 8:51am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City, Christmas.

Thanks to Don Burkel of the Batavia Business Improvement District for passing along this television commercial for Christmas in the City. It's got all the details about the big event coming up a week from Friday.

November 20, 2008 - 2:58pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City, Christmas.

Please click here to download the complete schedule of events for this season's Christmas in the City celebration in downtown Batavia. Choristers, bands and other musicians will be touring downtown shops throughout the evening. Find out who will be where and when. Don't forget: the Batavia Concert Band and In Jest will be taking the stage in the Batavia City Centre.

November 17, 2008 - 10:55am

From the Batavia Business Improvement District:

Join in the holiday spirit at the 13th annual Christmas in the City is Friday, December 5, 2008, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. in downtown Batavia. 

Activities include entertainment by the Batavia Concert Band and In Jest, over twenty vendors selling food and gifts, free horse and wagon rides, Batavia Muckdog & Red Wing mascots and lots more for all ages.  Winners of the Holiday Ornament Contest will be announced that evening in Batavia City Centre.

More than twenty downtown merchants will have in store entertainment, special sales & drawings, along with refreshments for the holiday shopper.

For more information about the event or to be a vendor contact the Batavia Business Improvement District at 585-344-0900 or visit www.downtownbataviany.com.

November 13, 2008 - 9:59am
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, business, downtown, Holidays, Christmas in the City.

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Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

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