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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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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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The Webster Museum is bloomin’ beautiful!

23 Jul
The Webster Museum before its garden transformation

In anticipation of its re-grand opening next month, the Webster Museum is getting a facelift, both inside and out.

Inside, display cases are being refurbished, walls are being painted, and exhibit spaces are being re-imagined. Visitors won’t see those improvements for several weeks yet. But the beautiful updates being made OUTSIDE the museum are a different matter.

Thanks to the hard work of museum volunteers and Village staffers, the two gardens that flank the museum’s front door have been totally transformed. Not only have the weeds been yanked and all the old mulch raked out, but unsightly old shrubs, bushes and roots have been removed and replaced with a beautiful collection of new plantings.

The replanting project started innocuously enough when a few volunteers got together to weed the front gardens. Conversation soon turned to how nice it would look if some of the older plantings were removed and new ones put in their place. Things started to get really serious when museum volunteer Diana Strassman did some research and pulled together an entire list of historically accurate plantings which they could consider choosing.

The project got yet another boost when Jude Lancy, the Village Board museum liaison, got wind of the discussions and enlisted the Board’s support.

The first step was to get the existing gardens cleaned out. Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly and several of his staff members made quick work of that, doing the heavy lifting (literally — they had to move some antique farm implements out of the way first), and preparing the beds by clearing out the old mulch and plantings.

The Village team (L-R): Brandon Boutillier, Jim Scott, Dan Bortle, Mike Bradshaw, Mike Northrup, Jake Swingly. Not pictured: Jim Clancy

Then, a few days ago, museum volunteers convened at Welch’s Greenhouses to purchase the new plantings.

And here’s another “Why I love Webster” moment: Welch’s DONATED $500 in plantings and labor. Not only that, museum volunteers opened up their own wallets to purchase about $200 more in additional plantings.

Wow.

The same day the volunteers were at Welch’s purchasing their plants, Welch’s owner Bill Vendel and his helper Jake Wilhelm were already at the museum, planting the ones they had donated. By early next week, everything should be in the ground and Swingly and his team will have topped off the job with some new mulch.

When it’s all done, the new gardens will sport a wide and colorful variety of shrubs, annuals and perennials, including hydrangias, junipers, euonymous, weigela, sedum, and more. It’s going to be a spectacular and beautiful welcome for museum visitors.

Check it out for yourself when the museum reopens to the public on August 21 and 28, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in September. The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the plant-purchasing expedition to Welch’s:

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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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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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Great news from the Webster Museum

30 Jun

The Webster Museum is opening again! The Webster Museum is opening again!

After a long hiatus thanks to the pandemic, the Webster Museum will be opening its doors to the public again in August, on Saturday, Aug. 21 and Saturday Aug. 28, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. both days.

Regular museum hours will resume in September, when the museum will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

The opening exhibit will feature the paintings of artist Ward Mann, who lived, worked and painted in Webster from 1961 until his death in 2005. His family has generously provided many of Ward’s paintings for this exhibit, memorabilia from his studios in Webster and in Rocky Neck, MA and slide shows of many of his other works.

Visit the Webster Museum website to find out more about this exhibit and some fascinating Webster history (I especially enjoy the blog).

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the village.

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I’ve often wondered about those cars…

29 Jun

A week or so ago, I got the latest edition of my Friends of Webster Trails newsletter. It immediately drew me in, because splashed across the top of the first page was a photo of an old, beat-up, rusting car.

I knew immediately where the photo had been taken. The car is actually one of several similarly (or worse) rusted-out cars that hikers will see when they walk the trails at Four Mile Creek Preserve, at the corner of Lake Rd. and Phillips.

I’ve been on those trails several times, and have come to love the old cars. Rather than seeing them as eyesores, their history always intrigued me. I wondered how they could show up in the middle of the woods like that. This one in particular is pock-marked with what look like bullet holes. I liked to imagine it was a get-away car belonging to some gangster who drove into the woods to escape, but who met with an unfortunate end. (The actual story of how the bullet holes got there is probably a lot less nefarious.)

So I was delighted to see the newsletter article explaining where these cars came from. It actually makes a lot more sense than the gangster story.

Trail steward Dennis Kuhn was able to track down some information. He wrote,

The cars were driven onto the property from Lake Road across a bridge that accessed farmland where the cars were last driven. It seems that some local youths decided to create a racetrack somewhat off the beaten path to have some fun cavorting around the open fields that were available at the time. If you traverse the land as it is now, you’ll have to use your imagination to see a relatively treeless landscape that existed sometime in the nineteen fifties or early sixties.

Nevertheless, the youths of the day had a ton of fun going around in circles until they ran out of gas or had a flat tire or wrecked the transmission.

If anyone knows more about the history of these old cars, the Friends would love to hear from you.


I was also excited to read in the newsletter that the Friends are developing a new trail at the State Rd. Nature Preserve, an area of undeveloped land on State Rd. just west of Salt. I haven’t seen a whole lot of details about this yet, but as I learn more about it I’ll let you know.

It continues to amaze me the great job the Friends of Webster Trails are doing maintaining our current trails and developing new ones. These dedicated volunteers bring hours of enjoyment to our community and deserve our continued support.

If you’re not familiar with all of the terrific trails we have here in Webster, check out the Friends of Webster Trails website, then get out there and start exploring. If you ARE already a fan of our trails, please consider dropping $10 for a single membership or $15 for a family. Your donation will go a long way to helping these fine folks help US enjoy our town’s natural beauty for years to come.

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Discover Webster through play!

12 Jun

Here’s a great idea for some inexpensive, healthy family fun this summer.

It’s called the “Find a Way to Play” playgrounds passbook. 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. It includes:

  • First Responder’s Playground
  • First Responder’s Spray Park
  • Recreation Center Obstacle Course
  • Karpus Family Playground at Miracle Field
  • Ridgecrest Park Playground
  • Ridgecrest Splash Park
  • Ridgecrest Skate Park
  • Kent Park Playground
  • Finn Park Playground

The challenge is to visit each one of these play areas, and record in the booklet the date you visited. Then take your completed passbook to the Recreation Center. Each child who completes the “tour” of Webster playgrounds will receive a token of accomplishment.

What a great way to encourage healthy activity, while learning a little bit about our town along the way. Make it a challenge for the whole family!

Passbooks are available right now at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

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This “Little Free” location draws art lovers and book lovers alike

22 May

Certainly most everyone by now is familiar with the concept of Little Free Libraries, mini libraries installed outside homes and schools, packed with books and magazines free for the taking.

A few months ago I posted a blog about one family who turned their little library into a puzzle exchange. Recently I was delighted to discover another extremely creative twist on the Little Free Library idea: the Little Free Art Gallery. In this case, instead of books, visitors will find pocket-sized pieces of fine art neatly arranged on miniature easels inside the box. Anyone is welcome to leave a piece, take a piece or just enjoy the artwork that others have left.

Even better than learning about these whimisical, pint-sized art galleries is finding out there’s one only a few minutes east of Webster.

Julie and Jim Gocker live on Ontario Drive, about a half mile north of Lake Rd. in Ontario. About three years ago, Jim built and installed a Little Free Libray in front of their lake-side home. It was the perfect way for Julie, a retired school library teaching assistant, to share her love for books with her neighbors.

Last year, just as the pandemic started, Julie read somewhere about Little Free Art Galleries, and hatched the idea to build one of their own. Given her background and having raised a family of artists and teachers, the library expansion seemed like a natural next step.

“It’s such an important thing to appreciate, either having a book to read or a picture to look at,” Julie said. “Those are important to us, and because we live in a walking neighborhood we just thought it’d be kind of cool.”

“I have to say that the plus to the whole COVID thing is seeing kids on bikes, swimming in the lake, and walking with their parents instead of being off on the soccer field or lacrosse field,” Julie added. “They’re home doing family things and taking books. So we thought it’d be a perfect year to do our Little Free Art Gallery.”

Building the gallery kept Jim busy for a while in the depths of the pandemic. When it was done, they waited for the weather to turn, and installed it on May 1.

This was the very first piece of art submitted to the new gallery. By Emilee, future artist extraorindaire.

Julie and Jim stocked the new gallery with their own creations until other people started adding their own. Their first artist in residence was a young neighborhood girl named Emilee, who filled her canvas with a large pink, green and yellow flower.

Perhaps it’s because the gallery is fairly new, but Julie said they haven’t had a lot of submissions yet, even though they keep restocking the gallery with several blank canvases every week. “They all disappear, but nobody’s been bringing any more paintings back to us,” Julie said. “We think Emilee’s probably going to have an art show.”

Of course the Gockers would love to see more artists contribute to the gallery, but they also encourage visitors to help themselves to a pint-sized painting at any time. Most of them are only 3″ square, the perfect size for your desk at work or home. But if you just want to stop by and admire the artwork — just like you would in any art gallery — you’re perfectly welcome to do that as well.

You’ll find the Gockers’ Little Free Art Gallery at 697 Ontario Drive in Ontario. And while you’re there, how about showing some love to their Little Free Library, too? They’ve already got a good stock of adult books, but could really use some children’s books.

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