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Family game night: happy children, happy meeting

1 Aug

Friday night’s first-ever Family Game Night seemed to be a popular event. When I joined it about an hour into the evening’s festivities, a few hundred people were milling around or seated at the tables. Many were enjoying their beverages or having dinner, others were listening to the musician, or chatting with friends, or playing games and chalking the street with their children.

Basically, everyone who attended was having a good time doing SOMETHING, appreciating the excuse to get out of the house again and spend some time with friends and neighbors on a beautiful summer evening.

The best part of the evening, however, was the opportunity for kids to have some fun in a safe environment while their parents socialized. The organizers — the Webster Business Improvement District — had put out giant games for the kids to play with, like Jenga, Connect Four and Cornhole. There was also plenty of sidewalk chalk to be had, and by the time I got there, West Main Street was already filled with artwork.

It was all a very pleasant ending to the village’s Christas in July Week.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the evening:

The happy meeting which I mentioned in the headline referred to the chance I had to meet and share a pint with Colin Minster, the new editor of the Webster Herald.

Colin replaces Anna Hubbel, who has been with the paper for the last seven years. Colin brings with him experience as a writer and researcher for the Finger Lakes Times, but this is his first full-time editing position. He’s fairly new to Webster, but in the short time he’s been here, he seems to have fallen in love with the town, and is looking forward to telling everyone more about it.

“I like Webster a lot,” he said. “There are so many cool, fun things that Webster does. It’s such a cool town.”

So you can expect the Herald to continue to cover hard news stories, like the recent sewer consolidation discussions, but also lots of community news, like Colin’s reflections on the recent Waterfront Arts Festival. Both stories ran on the front page of last week’s edition. He also hopes to fire up a few columns of his own.

Colin currently lives in Penn Yan but is looking to buy a house in Webster.

Welcome to Webster, Colin. I think you’re really going to like it here.

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First-ever holiday summer parade a hit

30 Jul

It wasn’t the Firemen’s Parade we are all accustomed to (and it wasn’t supposed to be). But last night’s Webster Holiday Parade was a delight for parade-starved community residents who just needed SOMETHING to celebrate this summer.

The Webster Business Improvement District (BID) organized the event as part of the village’s Christmas in July celebration, which began with a showing of the movie Elf on Tuesday and continues tonight with a Family Games Night and Beer Garden on Main Street from 6 to 9 p.m.

And while it wasn’t the two-hour long spectacle we’ve come to expect with the Firemen’s Parade, the holiday-themed parade had enough fire trucks, EMT vehicles and candy-tossing to keep the kids happy. A few other community organizations put together some Christmas-wrapped floats, and Dancing With Denise broke out their holiday costumes.

Following the parade, kids and their parents streamed down to the gazebo where they could decorate cookies and join in some Christmas caroling.

Thank you to all of the organizations who participated in last night’s parade, and for the BID for pulling it together on such short notice. Visit the Webster BID website for more details about tonight’s activities.

Click here to see a gallery of photos, including almost everyone who really got into the spirit and dug out their Santa hats, Christmas-light necklaces and reindeer antlers for the occasion.

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P.S. Here’s another gallery of photos you might like, courtesy Mary White.

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The Christmas lights are going up!

27 Jul

A friend of mine noticed last night as she was heading toward my house that village workers are stringing up Christmas lights on Main Street.

You know what that means, of course.

IT’S CHRISTMAS IN JULY IN THE VILLAGE!

We’ve all been pretty parade-starved these last few summers, so I think the most exciting news about this week is the Firemen’s Holiday Parade taking place Thursday night from 7 to 8 p.m. on Main St.

Now this is not going to be anywhere near as big as the Firemen’s parades that herald the return of the Firemen’s Carnival every year, but c’mon… it’s a parade. And it’s an excuse to wear Santa hats and jingle bells in July.

True to the “Christmas in July” theme, there will also be caroling and Christmas cookie decorating at the gazebo Thursday night.

Then, on Friday July 30, West Main Street will be closed for an evening of family games and entertainment…and beer.

The village’s first-ever Family Games Night and Beer Garden will feature sidewalk chalk art for the kids (and adults), giant street games like Jenga and Connect Four, and a free yoga class. The Coach Sports Bar will be serving up beer and wine and Webster Hots will offer dinner options.

Live acoustic music is also on tap from 6:30 to 8 p.m. featuring Steve Bartolotta.

Christmas in July events actually start tonight, with a showing of Elf (yes the Christmas movie!) at Movie Night in Gazebo Park beginning at 8 p.m.

It’s all being brought to you by the members of Webster’s Business Improvement District, the group that organizes all of the fun events in the village, from the Trick or Treat Trail to White Christmas. For more details, visit websterbid.com.

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A morning of baseball like no other

26 Jul

“Heroes Helping Heroes.” There was absolutely no better way to describe the incredible event held Saturday at Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester.

You’ve read about this magical place in my blog before. Miracle Field is located in Ridge Park adjacent to Town Hall. This beautiful facility was specifically designed for individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges and is fully wheelchair accessible. It offers those with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities a barrier-free, safe, accessible place to experience the health benefits and joy of play through baseball, other team sports, and adaptive recreational equipment.

On Saturday, these young athletes were joined on the baseball diamond by local first responders — police officers, State Troopers, EMTs, firefighters — who ran with them around the bases and assisted them in the field.

Heroes helping heroes.

It’s a delight to see the joy on the faces of these young people when they hit the ball, round the bases and score runs. Or when they successfully snag a grounder — which is such a joyous event they’d rather show it to the adult standing next to them than actually throw it to a base. Their mile-wide grins are infectious, and their jubilation as they cross the plate makes every heart smile.

Saturday’s event featured several ballgames, plus kids’ activities, a dunk tank, a fire truck to climb on, a mounted patrol officer with her horse to pet, food trucks, give-aways, and lots more. It was a super, well-coordinated event that was a delight for everyone who attended. Thank you to Linda Burke, Don Barone, Ron Kampff, the rest of the Miracle Field members and staff, and all of the volunteers for making it a great day. I look forward to next year.

Click here for a gallery of more photos.

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Waterfront Art Festival continues today

25 Jul

I stopped by the Waterfront Art Festival with my camera yesterday, just long enough to walk the entire circle of artisans spread across the lawns and around the ponds at North Ponds Park. I didn’t have more than a few dollars on me, which in retrospect was probably a good thing since I would have dropped a lot of cash at some of the booths. (Thinking ahead to Christmas already.)

This year’s festival really does seem bigger than the ones I’ve walked through in previous years, and both the variety and quality of the arts and crafts on display were impressive. (Visit the festival’s website to see a list.)

There was also a “food court” of sorts with several food trucks, a wine/beer/cider tasting tent and and some decent entertainment. And the weather was gorgeous, something else that will continue today along with the festival.

As I am prone to do at events, I took a lot of photos. There are a few here, but click here to see a Facebook gallery with many others.

The Waterfront Art Festival continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at North Ponds Park, right off of Rt. 104. Admission is $3 for adults, free for kids 12 and under, and there’s plenty of free parking.

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Webster community mailbag: busy weekend ahead

20 Jul

Baseball and festival and ice cream. All perennial summer favorites, and you’ll find them all this weekend in Webster.

The fun all starts Saturday morning July 24 at Challenger Miracle Field of Great Rochester, during their “Heroes Helping Heroes” day, a tribute to the Challenger athletes for whom the field was built, and the men and women who keep them safe.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. first responders will be playing ball games alongside the Challenger players. Visitors are invited to watch the games, cheer on these amazing athletes, and then hang around to visit with law enforcement representatives, first responders and mounted police officers. Plus there’ll be carnival games, food trucks, a dunk tank and a visit from Spikes, the Red Wings mascot.

Miracle Field is located on Ridge Road behind Town Hall. This beautiful facility was specifically designed for individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges and is fully wheelchair accessible. It offers those with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities a barrier-free, safe, accessible place to experience the health benefits and joy of play through baseball, other team sports, and adaptive recreational equipment.

It’s all free, there’s plenty of parking, and it’s going to be great family fun. Click here to learn more about Challenger Miracle Field.


The Waterfront Art Festival also returns to North Ponds Park this Saturday and Sunday after taking last year off (much like most everything else in life).

The Waterfront Art Festival is a fine art and craft show and sale that was started in 1973 on the Canandaigua City Pier. It was held in Canandaigua for 41 years before moving to Webster, where it has grown every year and become a highly anticipated summer event.

This year’s festival will feature almost 60 artisans displaying a wide variety of unique, high-quality pieces ranging from stoneware, beads and culinary items to jewelry, glassware and soaps… and so much more.

PLUS, there’s lots of live music (check the line-up here), a food court and wine/beer/cider tastings tent, all set up along the pathways and lawns of the picturesque, shady North Ponds Park.

Admission is $3, and kids 12 and under are free. There’s also plenty of free parking.


Here’s word of a unique new “summer camp” experience for kids who like to sew.

The Village Quilt Shoppe, 21 E. Main Street in Webster, will offer a Stitch by Stitch Kids Summer Camp from Tuesday July 27 through Thursday July 29. Over the three days, young students will create their own drawstring backpacks, while learning more about sewing machines and techniques.

Classes will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. each day, and be taught by instructor Kelly Goodman. Cost is $60.

For more information, including a supply list, email The Village Quilt Shoppe through the contact page on their website, call them at 585-626-6916 or stop by their shop.


St. Rita Church in West Webster will be hosting their next “Saturdays at St. Rita” event this weekend.

From 6 to 8 p.m. on July 24, the community is invited to an ice cream social at the church, 1008 Maple Drive.

BUT THERE’S MORE THAN JUST ICE CREAM! You can also get dinner from Verno on the Roll, AND play miniature golf for free! There’s a book sale, gift basket raffle, and live music.

And of course, it’s all a warm-up to the annual St. Rita Fiesta, scheduled this year for Aug. 28. Stay tuned for more about that.


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Village of Webster’s “Christmas in July” will feature an EMS parade

16 Jul

Plans continue to come together — and get more exciting — for some great family events in Webster Village the last week in July.

The latest addition to a whole week of activities is a “Christmas in July” Summer Parade of (at least) EMS vehicles on Thursday July 29 beginning ar 7 p.m. I’m sensing the organizers are looking to plan something a little like the huge Fireman’s Parade, but on a much smaller scale.

Community members are encouraged to dress up in their best holiday attire. That means get up into the attic and dig out all your Santa hats, antlers, Christmas lights and even ugly sweaters.

True to the “Christmas in July” theme, there will also be caroling and Christmas cookie decorating at the gazebo. More details as they come will be posted to this Facebook event page.

Then, on Friday July 30, West Main Street will be closed for an evening of family games and entertainment…and beer.

The village’s first-ever Family Games Night and Beer Garden will feature sidewalk chalk art for the kids (and adults), giant street games like Jenga and Connect Four, and a free yoga class. The Coach Sports Bar will be serving up beer and wine and Webster Hots will offer dinner options.

Live acoustic music is also on tap from 6:30 to 8 p.m. featuring Steve Bartolotta.

Earlier in the week, don’t forget that Elf (yes the Christmas movie!) will be the featured attraction at Movie Night in Gazebo Park, Tuesday July 27 beginning at 8 p.m.

You can also stay on top of Village of Webster events by regularly checking the Webster BID website.

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Hot off the presses! Free concert!

13 Jul

My friends at the Webster Public Library wanted me to gve you all a heads-up about Wednesday night’s FREE Caring Community Concert at the Webster United Church of Christ, 570 Klem Rd.

This concert will feature the eight-piece contemporary band Allegro, and begins at 6:30.

This is the first of the church’s annual summer benefit concert series, and this one will be near and dear to any book lover’s heart, because it will benefit BookBox for Kids and Teens, the Webster Public Library’s summer mobile library at Phillips Village.

BookBox is a terrific program begun by Children’s Services Librarian Jason Poole several years ago. It’s designed to get books into the hands of kids who can’t easily make it to the library — specifically the 500 or so kids who live in the Phillips Village neighborhood.

Once a week, library staff members set up a tent in an open field and unload a couple of crates of books. Kids can stop by, scan the collection, sign out one book or several, and keep them for the entire summer if they’d like. They can even make special requests, and their favorite books might very well show up the following week.  

It’s a great way to keep kids reading all summer long, and a great cause to support.

The Wednesday night concert is free, but a collection will be taken and donations will go to support BookBox.

The concert will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the United Church of Christ, 570 Klem Rd.

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Webster community mailbag

6 Jul

A couple of reminders this morning about upcoming events, plus a few new events for your consideration.

This Friday July 9, the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, at the corner of Webster Rd. (Rt. 250) and State Rd., will host a drive-through Taco Dinner, beginning at 4 p.m. and ending when they’re sold out.

Customers will have a choice of beef and chicken Birria style street tacos along with rice and black bean sides. The meals, priced at $12 for the first one and $11 for each additional meal ordered at the same time, are prepared by Tacodero, of Rochester. Its owner and chef, Cordero Rivera, has worked as a private chef cooking for hip-hop artists and NBA players in NYC before moving to Rochester.

Orders can be placed when you drive into the event. Proceeds will support the church’s outreach efforts in the Webster community and the greater Rochester area.


The Friends of the Public Library have added more dates for their Pop-Up Book Sales.

Four more sales have been scheduled for Thursday July 15, Saturday July 31, Thursday August 12 and Saturday August 28. They’ll be held in the Webster Public Library parking lot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., weather permitting. (Cancellations will be posted on the library’s website and Facebook page or you can call the library at 585-872-7075.)

Prices will be $1 for hardcover, 2/$1 for paperback. On August 28, the last sale day, bring your own bag and fill it to the brim for just $3 (or two bags for $5).

By the way, remember that the library is holding Outdoor Storytimes at Harmony Park every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. No registration is necessary. The park is located just off Phillips Rd. on 10 Foster Drive. For more information, check out the library calendar here.

This tidbit also from the library: “Binge Bags.”

If you’re in the mood to take a break and binge on four or five movies — all with the same theme (like Star Wars or the best of Stephen King) — you can check out a “Binge Bag” at the library. It will be your own personal movie marathon. (Don’t forget the popcorn.)

The Webster Public Library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the back of Webster Plaza.


The Webster Recreation Center’s next Family Fun Day will be on Saturday July 17.

The Summer Splash Family Fun Water Day will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the First Responders Splash Park, located on Chiyoda Drive adjacent to the Webster Recreation Center. Make sure to wear your swimsuits, bring a towel and some cash because there will be food trucks.

No registration is required, and the event is free for all ages.

And while you’re near the Rec Center, make sure to grab your copy of the new “Find a Way to Play” playgrounds passport. This is a new program from the Webster Parks and Recreation Department which encourages families to get outside and explore all of the great play areas we have here in Webster.

The 10-page passbook highlights many places right here in town where children and adults can be active and have fun. It encourages everyone to visit different facilities and discover each one’s unique amenities. The booklet provides a brief description of not just playgrounds, but two spray parks, the skate park and more.

You can read more about the program in this blog I wrote a few weeks ago.


There’s a very special event coming up later this month which I’ll write more about at a later date. But it’s something I think you’ll want to get on your calendar right now, especially if you’re not familiar with Rochester Challenger Miracle Field.

Miracle Field is located on Ridge Road behind Town Hall. This beautiful facility was specifically designed for individuals with physical and/or cognitive challenges and is fully wheelchair accessible. It offers those with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities a barrier-free, safe, accessible place to experience the health benefits and joy of play through baseball, other team sports, and adaptive recreational equipment.

On Saturday July 24, Miracle Field will host their “Heroes Helping Heroes” day, a tribute to the Challenger athletes and the men and women who keep them safe.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. first responders will be playing ball games alongside the Challenger players. You can watch the games, cheer on these amazing athletes, then stay to visit with law enforcement representatives, first responders and mounted police officers. Plus there’ll be carnival games, food trucks, a dunk tank and a visit from Spikes, the Red Wings mascot. It should be a great morning of family fun.

More to come about this event later. But in the meantime, you can visit the Rochester Challenger Miracle Field website for details.


Also coming up later this month, a brand new event from the Webster BID, those folks who bring you White Christmas in the Village, Trick or Treat Trail, Wine Walks and more.

It’s being called the Family Games Night & Beer Garden, scheduled for Friday July 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. on West Main Street in the village.

The BID website promises sidewalk chalk art, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four, Cornhole and a free yoga class. Beer and wine will be served up by the Coach Sports Bar and food from Webster Hots (including a kids’ menu). Live acoustic music will be provided by Steve Bartolotta from 6:30 to 8:00.

Details are still being hammered out, so stay tuned. You can also check the BID website for updates.

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New shop will join East Main St. merchants

2 Jul

Another crafty shop is coming to the Village of Webster.

The Village HandWorks will be opening in just a few weeks at 19 East Main St., right next door to the Village Quilt Shoppe. As the name implies, the new shop will feature original hand-crafted goods, and offer a place for crafters to practice their skills, take a class or two, or just gather to sit, stitch and share their projects.

The Village HandWorks is owned by Webster resident Jenn Ratcliffe, an experienced spinner and weaver herself. She envisions her new place as a “unique yarn shop/learning center,” a welcoming environment for crafters of all skill levels who love making things with fabric and paper. She and her talented friends will be offering classes in spinning, weaving, fiber arts, knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, crewel work, print making, book arts, dyeing and more.

There’ll be a big leather couch in one corner where people can sit and stitch, get help with their projects, and read research books from her library. And this is fun: she’ll be setting up her spinning wheel and loom right in the front window so passers-by can watch her work.

Jenn is clearly passionate about her craft and super excited to be part of the Village of Webster community.

It makes me feel good to be part of the revitalization of the village. COVID is still here, but it’s a little less scary and people are starting to get out more. Being in this retail space allows me to share my skills and ability, and also brings life to this space and hopefully to the village.

And being right next door to the Village Quilt Shoppe? Some might consider that direct competition, but Jenn considers it a great opportunity for collaboration.

I don’t quilt, and there will be no quilting (here) because that’s their expertise. We’re looking forward to working as a team to create classes together. Maybe while mom’s next door taking a quilting class, her children can be here taking a different kind of class.

For now, Jenn and her husband Tim are deep into cleaning and renovating the long-vacant storefront. But they hope to have a soft opening by July 17 followed by a grand opening the following week. Stay tuned for more details about both. Their website is still under construction, but what they have so far you can see here.

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