Archive | July, 2022

Goat Yoga at the Bowen Family Farm: a new spin on an ancient art

31 Jul

At the Bowen Family Farm on Lake Road, yoga has gone to the goats.

You can find yoga classes pretty much anywhere. I’ve seen classes held outdoors in parks, at breweries, in a greenhouse, even accompanied by dogs. But The Bowen Family Farm has come up with a twist that I’d never seen before.

It’s called Goat Yoga. Basically, it’s your normal yoga class, complete with all of the yoga poses we know and love. But while you’re moving through your cat/cow, there’s a good chance that a goat or two might wander by to see what you’re up to.

For a typical Goat Yoga class at the farm, owner Linda Bowen coaxes two of her six goats onto the floor to wander among the students (and sometimes adds rabbits and kittens to the mix). She’ll choose two of the smaller goats, since lying on a yoga mat just inches from the horned animals might be intimidating for someone who’s not familiar with them.

A frequent question Linda gets is if the goats will jump on the students’ backs. That actually doesn’t happen. At least not anymore.

“When the goats were babies, they did jump on our backs,” Linda said. “Now they’re just sort of a distraction.” But that’s actually a good thing, she added. Learning how to center yourself and tune out life’s distractions is a big part of the practice of yoga. She does have to remind everyone at the beginning of every class, however, that sometimes the goats think students are fellow goats and might greet them with a friendly, albeit unexpected, head butt.

That not-getting-distracted part was rather difficult for some of the students in last Saturday morning’s class, which was made up mostly of (human) kids, many of whom had never done yoga before. The adorable bunnies hopping around and goats meandering in between the mats proved too cute to ignore for some of the students, who, as the class began, seemed as interested in petting the friendly animals as they were downward dog … ing. 

The yoga “studio” itself is actually in an old 1860’s barn, where Linda has cleared out enough floor space to accommodate up to 18 yoga mats. Once all of the mats are in place, she makes sure to fence off the doorway so the goats can’t escape, then spreads treats around the room so the goats will visit everyone. Once the class begins, it doesn’t take long for both students and animal helpers to get into the flow of things.

“The goats are a little ‘off’ in the beginning,” Linda said, “(but) by the end they start sleeping on somebody’s mat. They’re relaxed and chill out and are very happy.” 

And after all, that’s what the whole yoga experience is about.

One good thing about COVID, Linda said, “was that it slowed life down and it brought us back to basics, and that’s what I think this is to me. The yoga practice is trying to bring you back, slow your pace and focus within, and not so much on the external stuff.”

Goat Yoga is held at the Bowen Family Farm, 833 Lake Rd., every Saturday morning through August at 9 a.m. Space is limited, so visit their Facebook page for more information and to register.

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(posted 7/31/2022)

Remember Village Days? It’s coming back (sort of)

29 Jul

Those great folks at the Webster Business Improvement District (BID) have just in the last two weeks started to pull together a new summer event, and they want to spread to the word to get everyone involved.

It’s basically going to be a street fair, featuring businesses, vendors, snacks, crafts and perhaps a few games, very reminiscent of the old Village Days of yore.

The fair will be held on Friday August 19, on the first night of the Webster Jazz Fest. That evening is “Jazz in the Pubs,” when six different bands will be performing at six different bars and restaurants in town (more details about that in a future blog). West Main Street will already be closed for the evening, so it’s a perfect time to hold a Village-Days-type street fair.

Now, however, the BID needs vendors and contributors. They’re pretty much open to any ideas, so if you’ve got a village business and would like to participate, email the Webster BID at and get on board!

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(posted 7/29/2022)

Waterfront Art Festival returns this weekend

26 Jul

Are you familiar with the history of the annual Waterfront Art Festival?

It feels like the festival has been regular Webster summer event for like, forever. But actually, Webster’s only hosted the Waterfront Art Festival since 2015, when organizers had a falling out with their original hosts at the Canandaigua City Pier. When they chose to move it to North Ponds Park in Webster, our community warmly welcomed the event, and it quickly became a summer favorite.

This coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31, the Waterfront Art Festival returns for its 49th year, to North Ponds Park — now known as Charles Sexton Memorial Park. The festival is a must-see for those who appreciate fine art and quality crafts.

Dozens of artisan booths line the park’s scenic and shaded walkways, displaying an incredible variety of hand-made items in all price ranges. What’s really nice about this particular festival is that all of the artisans’ work is juried beforehand, which is why it’s all so different and high-quality. Plus there are food trucks, live entertainment, demonstrations, a wine, beer and cider-tasting tent, plenty of free parking right on the grounds, and a handicapped parking area. (Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s event.)

The festival runs from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31 at Charles Sexton Memorial Park (formerly North Ponds Park), off of Rt. 104 between Rt. 250 and Holt Road (take the Rt. 250 exit off Rt. 104). 

Admission is $5, no charge for kids 12 and under. For more information, including a list of artisans and entertainers, click here for the Waterfront Art Festival website.

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New kindergartners invited to Strive for Five

25 Jul

The start of the new school year is just around the corner, so it’s time to start thinking about buying supplies, getting up early again, and catching the bus.

For our youngest students, getting on a big school bus on that first day of school can be a little bit scary. A great program called Strive for Five for School Bus Safety helps allay some of those fears.

The program, now it is 15th year, is designed for 2022/23 incoming kindergartners. It gives children a chance to become familiar with school buses, and learn important safety procedures.

Due to construction at the transportation department, this year’s program will be held at Webster Schroeder High School, 875 Ridge Rd. It begins promptly at 6 p.m., and parents/guardians are asked to park in the high school’s main parking lot.

While at the transportation department, students will rotate through five stations teaching them the following safety elements:

  • Loading and unloading the bus
  • Proper crossing procedures
  • Danger zones surrounding the bus
  • Appropriate behavior on the bus
  • Emergency equipment/evacuation

Incoming kindergartners and their parents (no additional children, please) should attend as follows, if at all possible. IF you can’t make your assigned evening, you can come on another, but they district really likes to spread everyone out as much as possible.

August 1 – Plank South
August 2 – Klem North and Schlegel Rd.
August 3 – Klem South and State Rd.
August 4 – Plank North and Dewitt Rd.

Private and parochial students residing in the Webster Central School District can attend any one of the four dates.

The program will be held outside and will take place rain or shine.

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(posted 7/25/2022)

My neighborhood lemonade entrepreneur is back!

24 Jul

Last year about this time I posted a blog highlighting a lemonade stand which had been set up just around the corner from me, at the corner of South Ave. and Park Ave. in Webster Village at the home of Doug and Patti Pucci.

The proprietor was 6-year old Nixie-Blu Howes, who was in town for a few weeks, visiting her grandparents. The very professional-looking stand, built by her grandfather, was brightly colored and sporting an open/closed sign, a flag and a pinwheel.

But probably the best thing about Nixie-Blu’s lemonade stand was that she was not charging anything for her lemonade. Instead, she was simply accepting donations, a portion of which she was donating to St. Jude.

Well, I’m pleased to report that Nixie-Blu and her lemonade stand are back this summer. She and her mother are visiting again for a few weeks, so the fancy wooden stand has been pulled out of storage and set up on the corner again.

Nixie-Blu has also brought back the same business model. Her customers decide what they want to pay for a cup of lemonade, and part of her earnings will be donated to St. Jude.

As you might expect given the very hot weather we’ve been having, business has been good. At one point, three cars had pulled off the busy road, the drivers lined up waiting for their lemonade. She even attracts customers who don’t want lemonade, like the teacher who came by and handed her some money simply to support her efforts.

Nixie-Blu will be in town all this week, and expects to open the stand for a few hours most of those days. So make sure to watch for her as you’re driving down South Ave., and consider supporting this budding entrepreneur.

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(posted 7/23/2022)

Riding as therapy at Heritage Christian Stables

23 Jul

A few weeks ago, I attended a check-presentation event at Heritage Christian Stables on Salt Rd. It was the first time I’d visited the facility in more than 10 years, since I wrote a piece about them when I was still blogging for the Democrat and Chronicle.

I was pleased for the chance to get reacquainted with the stables, and to be reminded of the great service they provide for our community.

Heritage Christian Stables, a community impact program of Heritage Christian Services, is an inclusive, therapeutic riding facility for children and adults with physical, social or developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida and many more.

“We serve a little bit of everything,” said Heritage Christian Stables director Tara Kuba. “From individuals with emotional and mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, (to) participants on the autism spectrum.” Some of their students are in wheelchairs, and others are nonverbal, so staff members teach them some signs to communicate what they’d like a horse to do.

“We never have two lessons that look the same,” she added.

It turns out that horseback riding is great therapy for all of these conditions, as explained on the Heritage Christian Stables website:

Therapeutic horsemanship impacts a person’s physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual well being. The horse’s walk mimics the three dimensional movement of the human walk, offering riders the rhythmic movement and opportunities for improvement in balance, symmetry, and muscle strengthening. Participants are provided with cognitive tasks to improve following directions, sequencing, and meeting educational goals. Psychologically, it’s empowering for the rider to be able to control a 1,000-pound animal and develop a bond with a horse that positively affects the participant’s self-esteem and confidence. Therapeutic horsemanship allows people to strengthen their bodies and minds, freeing their spirit to do the things they never thought possible. 

Of course, it’s also just plain FUN.

Heritage Christian Stables operates on 13 beautiful acres at 1103 Salt Rd., just south of State. They currently have 12 full-size horses and two miniature horses. The smaller ones are used for students who might be intimidated by the larger horses; they can sit in a small cart pulled by a mini and drive it around the ring.

As with most businesses, the pandemic presented some real challenges for the stables; they’re only just now getting back to being fully staffed, for example. But they came through stronger than ever, even recently introducing a new program for veterans in partnership with CompeerCorp.

Tara said,

We have approximately 10 veterans who come out and ride or groom and care for the horses on a weekly basis. … They thoroughly enjoy the horses and interacting with them. They are becoming more engaged in our activities and are building relationships here with the horses and other people.

During the pandemic, the stables also expanded their program for community riders. “People didn’t have a lot they could do,” Tara said, so we had them start riding horses.” Still, by far most of the 100 or so students who take lessons at Heritage Christian Stables do so for therapeutic reasons. The facility offers a safe, non-judgmental place to learn new skills, make new friends, and achieve to the best of their abilities. The social, emotional and physical benefits students get from the simple joy of riding a horse are changing their lives.

To do this great work, Heritage Christian Stables relies on community support. Tara explained, “We’re a little different from other commercial stables (which) also do horse boarding, horse training, maybe tack sales or some other revenue streams. Here our only revenue stream is our lessons.” They charge students less than half of the actual cost for every lesson, subsidizing the balance through donations.

The continued success of their therapeutic horsemanship program also depends on volunteers, who help coordinate special projects and run lessons. Riders may require as many as three people to assist them – one “side walker” on each side of the horse and one “horse leader” responsible for guiding the equine.

To find out more about Heritage Christian Stables, call (585) 872-2540, see their website here or check out their Facebook page. Also, click here to learn more about becoming a volunteer. Experience is not required, and all training is provided.

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(posted 7/21/2022)

Event will thank Revolutionary War patriots, veterans, first responders

20 Jul

Local history will come alive on Saturday morning July 30 when Webster Union Cemetery hosts a thank you celebration honoring Revolutionary War patriots, veterans, active military and first reponders.

The family-friendly event will feature the Towpath Volunteers Fire and Drum Corps performing early-American songs, and a musket salute honoring our local Revolutionary War patriots. Watch active servicemen fold flags and present them to descendants of our patriots, and hear stories about families who built our town.

This is a great opportunity for your kids to meet and have their photos taken with some of our local first responders and active military. Veterans from all branches of the service are encouraged to attend and receive the community’s thanks.

The event begins at 10 a.m. at Webster Union Cemetery, 345 Webster Rd., at the corner of Rt. 250 and Woodhull. It’s free to the public. Bring along a lawn chair and enjoy a morning filled with history and music!

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(posted 7/20/2022)

Webster community mailbag

19 Jul

I’d like to start today with this very interesting History Bit from the Webster Museum, which tells a bit of history of the Forest Lawn neighborhood, on the very northern end of town.


(submitted by Kathy Taddeo)

Webster is very fortunate in its location. Not only is it bordered by Lake Ontario on its north and Irondequoit Bay on its West, but it is blessed with numerous creeks and streams. All add color, texture, sound and wildlife to our daily lives.

It’s not surprising, then, that waterfront property has been prized since Webster’s pioneer days and that there are several cottage enclaves along lake, bay and streams. One of these is Forest Lawn on Lake Ontario and Shipbuilders Creek.

By 1857, friends Samuel Pierce and John Forsyth had completed a plan for a summer community in the northwest corner of Webster. Later, Horace Pierce and George Forsyth talked the local trolley company into extending its line so residents could hop a trolley after work and meet their families at the community known as Forest Lawn. The definitive history of Forest Lawn was written by yet another Forsyth, Judge C. Benn. His FOREST LAWN 1888-1988 is available to read at the Webster Museum library and to borrow from the Webster Public Library.

By 1888, the Forest Lawn Club was incorporated, the cottage lots claimed and the clubhouse had become the center of social activity. The clubhouse burned down for the second time in 1908 and never rebuilt. However, the spirit of community was strong and for many years, the neighbors carried on the Forest Lawn Field Day with croquet and softball and dancing behind the store. One Forest Lawn song was sung to the tune of “Harrigan.”
     F-O-R-E-S-T-L-A-W-N, Forest Lawn
     That’s the place we like to praise, sir.
     That’s the spot which we most craze sir.
      F-O-R-E-S-T-L-A-W-N, Forest Lawn
     Ring the bell, let it swell
     Wake the echoes through lawn and dell –
      Forest Lawn, that’s here!

Around 1914-1918, Isabella and Thomas Dorsey rented a home in a Forest Lawn farm, likely the Glasser farm. There they cared for orphaned African-American children. Their neighbors commented that the Dorseys were doing “excellent work.”  In need of more space, the Dorseys moved the children to the current site of McQuaid High School.

Around this time, residents apparently could not get enough of their summer place and seasonal cottages became permanent dwellings. Forest Lawn turned into a neighborhood and a hamlet with its own post office. Though likely few remember much less sing the old field day songs, Forest Lawn remains one of the many beautiful places to live in Webster, New York.

The Webster Museum’s map collection, which sparked this “Bit of Webster History,” is available to you on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2-4:30 pm at 18 Lapham Park.

The Caring Community Concert series at the United Church of Christ (570 Klem Rd.) is back, and this summer’s lineup is a great one.

These concerts benefit local nonprofit organizations through free-will donations. The first one, scheduled for Wed. July 20 will feature the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, and proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels.

The next concert, on Wed. July 27, features the Gate Swingers Big Band, with proceeds going to the Webster Public Library BookBox. The last, on Wed. Aug. 3, features 8 Days a Week, and will benefit the Webster Community Chest.

The concerts all begin at 6:30 p.m., and food concessions begin at 6. You can bring a picnic or buy dinner or snacks there, served up by church volunteers. The concerts are held on the United Church of Christ front lawn, at 570 Klem Rd. (In case of rain it’s moved indoors.) Bring your own lawn chairs and come enjoy some great music for a good cause!

For more information about the concerts, click here.

Fun stuff coming up in the village in the next few weeks.

  • The Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra comes to the Veterans’ Park gazebo this Friday July 22 for a concert beginning at 7 p.m.
  • The next Family Games and Beer Garden Night is Friday July 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. Plans are to introduce even more games for the older kids this time around.
  • On Friday Aug. 5, It’s My Party will perform at the gazebo, beginning at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday Aug. 9 is the next Movie in the Park, featuring Flight of the Navigator

And that’s only the beginning. There are more bands, the Jazz Fest, another movie, another Games Night … and you can check out details about all of these on the Webster BID website.

Don’t forget about the Joe Obbie Farmers’ Market’s latest addition: the Evening in the Park market at Charles Sexton Park (formerly North Ponds) every Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. Lots of vendors, food trucks, and live music. So don’t just come ro shop for great crafts, flowers and fresh vegetables; bring some lawn chairs and make an evening out of it.

Check out the poster below for information about the entertainers.

Finally, you don’t want to miss this great event coming up at Miracle Field on Saturday July 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

It’s Hero’s Day, when Challenger athletes take the field to play some ball games with — and against — our first responders. There’s lots of refreshments, a dunk tank, kids’ obstacle course, and baseball games all morning. Your kids will also get to meet many of our first responders and check out some of their equipment.

There’s no charge, but there’s plenty of fun and excitement.

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(posted 7/19/2022)

Gleason Orthodontics hosting school supply drive

18 Jul

Believe it or not, it’s that time again. School supplies are filling the shelves at all the stores, and in just a few short weeks, supply-shopping will begin in earnest.

As you stock up on notebooks and folders, pencils and pens, consider dropping a few extra bucks on some EXTRA supplies for those students in our district who can’t easily afford them.

Gleason Orthodontics on South Ave. in the Village of Webster is hosting a school supply drive this summer, and wants to help as many kids as possible have a successful start to their school year by providing those in need with critical supplies.

They’re especially looking for pencils, pens, paper, folders, binders, backpacks, highlighters, crayons, markers, glue, tape calculators, notebooks, erasers, rulers, Sharpies and composition books. Basically, if you’re throwing something in the cart for your kids, consider picking up an extra for the donation drive. The prices are rock-bottom this time of year, so it’s the best time to find some bargains.

Donations are being accepted through Aug. 22, and can be dropped off at Gleason Orthodontics, 246 South Ave., Webster. For more information, call 585-872-3355 or email

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(posted 7/18/2022)

Beautiful music has returned to Harmony Park

16 Jul

After almost two years of not being able to play together at their regular summer gigs at Harmony Park, the Webster Village Band is back together and performing beautiful music again.

Like pretty much everything else, in the last two years the pandemic put a damper on the Village Band’s ability to perform publicly, or even rehearse. Not only were their Thursday evening concerts at the Harmony Park bandshell cancelled entirely, they weren’t even allowed into the schools to hold rehearsals.

Last summer, as the pandemic began to wane, the band was able to rehearse again at the Harmony Park bandshell on Phillips Rd., and towards the end of last year actually had two performances, one at the park and another at the Village of Webster’s 9/11 memorial ceremony.

“When we got together the first time last year, you could tell the people were hungry to play,” said conductor Tom Indiano. “It was an awesome, awesome experience.” 

When they weren’t able to meet, especially over the winter months when they couldn’t hold outdoor rehearsals, “it was difficult,” Indiano said. “People want to play music.” So they did their best to stay busy in other ways, rehearsing at home, having social hours on Zoom, and finding creative ways to continue doing what they love doing most — making music.

Last December, for example, they pulled together a virtual, multi-instrumental performance of Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, which you can see below.

“We sent out parts,” Indiano remembered, and “everyone did a recording of it.” Then the individual parts were collected and expertly compiled into one seamless performance by one of the band’s members.

The piece was extremely well received, even attracting the attention of Anderson’s family, who thanked the band for the beautiful rendition.

Only a few months ago was the band finally allowed to hold their rehearsals in the schools again. So the season got off to a late start, but the Village Band is definitely back, albeit with a few changes.

Right now, “We’re just trying to get our feet wet,” Indiano said. “There’re some new tunes we’re working on.”

“We lost some people in that two-year span,” he added. “We’re a little smaller, but we’re pretty strong and there’s new blood coming in.”

“The future looks very good.”

The Webster Village Band plays on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. at Harmony Park, on Phillips Rd., south of Ridge. The next two concerts are Aug. 11 and Aug. 25. They’re free and open to the community. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and your own refreshments, then sit back and enjoy some beautiful music.

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(posted 7/16/2022)