December means a triple-play for Batavia Players, Pat Burk says.
Actually, there’s only one play, “A Christmas Carole,” that runs Thursday through Sunday, plus Our Hometown Christmas all day Saturday inside Batavia City Centre, and spaghetti with Santa event on Dec. 11.
If that schedule tires you out, it has been plenty for members of the theater group. In addition to many of them participating in the show, they will also be helping out for a vendor fair throughout the mall concourse from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and at Santa’s Village at the concourse stage.
Home Depot has donated wood kits so that kids can put their hands to work at Santa's Workshop making birdhouses and other creations, he said. Photos with Santa Claus will be from 1 to 5 p.m., with the outdoor parade to begin at 6 p.m. and take off from Jefferson Avenue to Summit Street.
Entertainment will be provided at 12:15 p.m. by Main St. 56 Dance Company, and dancing and musical performances are scheduled throughout the day, he said. Other activities include cookie decorating and a live nativity at EverPresent Church.
There were 49 vendors registered just before Burk talked to The Batavian Tuesday afternoon, he said, and there were a few more interested, so expect several dozen ready and waiting to sell their wares, from Christmas and general craft items to kitchen goods, woodwork and assorted foods. Many of the usual Mall Market participants will be there throughout the day as well, he said.
A concessions food truck will be available beginning at 9 a.m. outside the former Sunny’s restaurant site in the parking lot. That vendor’s specialties include deep-fried Oreos, flavored french fries and various barbecued items, Burk said.
If you’ve got some time to spare, volunteers are needed for miscellaneous tasks, such as helping visitors locate certain activities, vendors find their assigned spots, and other volunteers so that they can take periodic breaks.
Neck deep in the construction of a new Main St. 56 theater means that Batavia Players is raising money to help make the costly endeavor happen. The vendor fair and weekend shows are fundraisers and will be complemented by a basket raffle, specifically for the group’s Building Committee. Tickets are $5 for a sheet, and drawings are to begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, just before the parade.
Speaking of the show, Burk and fellow actor Paul Spiotta are thrilled to be celebrating their 15th season of singing a duet during the weekend performances, Burk said.
“We were both 50 years old when we first sang together,” Burk said. “We’re pretty excited to still be around to do it.”
Burk is sort of amazed at how much he’s learned about construction, having been part of contractor meetings for the theater, he said. He now knows the gritty details of HVAC systems and supporting walls, and, unfortunately, also about how slowly such projects can progress with stalled and rising costs of materials due to post-COVID supply chain issues.
“We’re doing everything we possibly can to put the finishing touches on it,” he said. “After January 1, we’ll actually be doing a big fundraising effort.”
There have been sacrifices, mostly behind the scenes, he said, by reducing bathrooms from four to two and shifting the configuration of dressing rooms. However, patrons are still getting nice new restrooms, and there won’t be cost-cutting with aesthetics if he can help it, Burk said.
The final fundraiser for this season will be a Spaghetti With Santa event, set for 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 11 at First Presbyterian Church, 300 East Main St., Batavia. Photos with Santa will be from 3 to 5 p.m., and there will be a basket raffle. Meals are for dining in or take-out and are $12 a person. To purchase tickets ahead of time or obtain further details about these events, go to Batavia Players.
Christmas in the City, sponsored by the Business Improvement District, will also be happening throughout downtown from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Local shops, restaurants and organizations will be offering holiday specials, activities and food samples, including Letters to Santa at The Coffee Press on Jackson Street and horse and buggy rides beginninning at Center Street Smokehouse, with tickets availalbe for purchase at Adam Miller Toy and Bike shop, on Center Street. While at Adam Miller, check out the toy specials and warming chili.
Over on Main Street, Hunt Real Estate will be hosting an ornament-making craft while The YNGodess will provide adult tastings, and make sure to track down the Dickens carolers and Scrooge from 3 to 5 p.m.
The outdoor fun will be topped off with a holiday parade at 6 p.m. down Main Street. There are 35 participants registered for the parade, BID Executive Director Shannon Maute said, and judges include City Council members Eugene Jankowski Jr. and Bob Bialkowski, and BID community members Carol Hunt, Sandy Licata and Ken Mistler.
"We have added giant blow-up decorations for downtown, and added more things for kids. We are working hard on creating memories for all ages, especially the kids," Maute said. "I am overwhelmed with the participation and the generosity of everyone. I have a great board, an amazing committee, and a fantastic community.
"The BID Christmas in the City Committee will be transforming downtown Batavia into your favorite Christmas movie!" she said.
Volunteers are welcome to join the parade line-up or Santa's Village to help out, she said.
File photo of Christmas in the City parade, by Howard Owens.