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Snow is here, December is coming, it must be time for Christmas in the City

By Joanne Beck
Santa in Batavia Centre
December 2022 File Photo of Christmas in the City
Photo by Howard Owens

Christmas in the City — an annual festive tradition that happens the first weekend in December — will be bringing the usual favorites of Santa Claus, hot cocoa, a parade down Main Street and cheery carolers, along with some new additions of a three-set train display and Serendipity Swing at the new Main St. 56 Theater, Pat Burk says.

Of course, the main event at Batavia City Centre runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and will offer gift-giving shoppers plenty of options with 42 vendors and 64 tables so far throughout the concourse, Burk said. (Vendors may register up to Saturday. For more information, go to bataviaplayers.)

“We have more than last year,” he said. “There will be Christmas decorations, wood designs candles, a lot of handmade stuff and Christmas-themed items. I think people are looking for places to exhibit their things, and I think people are realizing December starts this Friday.”

The Great Lakes and Attica Regional Railroad model train club will be joining the action this year. The club will have three train boards set up with various displays, including a Christmas village and town theme. 

At one end of the concourse, near Hawley’s Insurance, there will be a jolly fellow awaiting visits from kids to whisper their Christmas wishes in his ear. Yes, Santa will be there from 1 to 5 p.m.

Two groups of Batavia Players will be singing holiday favorites at downtown shops and along the streets from 1 to 5 p.m. as well, Burk said. 

That’s not all that will be happening in Downtown Batavia on Saturday. Beginning at 2 p.m., there are several activities scheduled, including: portraits and ornament crafts at Iburi Photography, cookie decorating at Eden Cafe, a Kids Zone at Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union, face painting at The Spa at Artemis, a live nativity, hot cocoa and doughnuts at EverPresent Church, letters to Santa at The Coffee Press, chili tasting at Adam Miller Toys & Bicycles, T-shirt coloring at T-Shirts Etc., sleigh rides at 6 Center St., adult tastings at The Yngodess Shop, cookies and cocoa at Releve Dancewear Boutique, Grinch at GO Art!, brass band and photo booth at Center Street Smoke House, tree lighting at Crossroads House, a scavenger hunt bingo that begins at Iburi Photography and ends at GO Art!, champagne and kisses at My Cut.

Several of the downtown shops will also have holiday specials from 2 to 6 p.m. when the parade is set to begin. 

The Business Improvement District has also borrowed an outdoor ice skating rink from Genesee County for use at the parking lot near Alva Place. Deputy Highway Superintendent Paul Osborn said that a rink can be made with just a couple of inches of water, but the temperature needs to be at least 32 degrees, so here's hoping this wintry weather will stick around for some old-fashioned outside skating.

There will also be plenty to do indoors, which he looks forward to, Burk said. 

"For us, it’s a tremendous event, the theater will be open for tours — they’ll have to enter from Main Street for theater tours. We like to see the support, we like to see people come in. I love to have all the kids here, the kids make my day. It’s a nice community event, and we have a tremendous amount of crafters and vendors that participate and help support the theater,” Burk said. “I mean, that’s the big thing. Right now, every single cent we can make is supporting our new facility and improvements we have to make here. We’re fortunate that every single show that we’ve done since we’ve ben in the new theater has been either sold out or close to it. Extremely well received, but what people don’t realize is shows cost money, so everything we can do to make sure we can solidify our season for next year, including the fundraising events and everything that happens over Christmas, is a big plus for Downtown Batavia with our theater.”

He likes the idea of having the Buffalo-based “little big band” Serendipity Swing at the outermost edges of the evening to cap off and “stretch out” a full day of festivities. The show goes on at 7:30 p.m. in Main St. 56 Theater.

Serendipity Swing is an eight-musician dance ensemble plus a female vocalist that reflects “a musical style from an era of famous dance halls, glamorous ballrooms, classy supper clubs, hot jazz joints and the most elegant of private parties,” the group’s website states.

“Our music is from the Golden Age of the American Songbook through more current favorites. Our music library, with over 400 titles, contains selections that explore and mirror the beauty of the music elements: melody, harmony and rhythm,” the site states. “It is music that is artful, fun, graceful, whimsical, listenable, danceable and enjoyable to hear. The melodies are memorable. The harmonies are soothing and rich in texture. The tempos, and rhythms, are danceable and toe-tapping.

Tickets are $20 at Batavia Players or at the door.

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