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Webster sparkled for White Christmas in the Village

3 Dec
electric parade

The Electric Parade, photo courtesy Sarah Rosenberry

For, like, the third year in a row, there wasn’t much “white” about Webster’s White Christmas in the Village celebration on Saturday.  Temperatures were unseasonably warm, so the village’s beautiful new streetlight decorations were the only snowflakes anyone saw that afternoon and evening.

However, things did look very Christmas-y. The shop windows were all decorated and sparkling, carolers strolled the streets singing holiday favorites, and hundreds of people took the opportunity to wear their Santa hats and reindeer antlers, and drape themselves in colored lights.

As usual for this event, things got off to slow start. But anyone who got there early got first crack at visiting with Santa at the Village Hall and taking a ride on the horse-drawn festival wagon. As dusk fell, though, Main Street started to fill with holiday cheer as thousands began to line Main Street in anticipation of the always popular Electric Parade.

There was plenty to do in the meantime. Kids enjoyed a bounce house, adults enjoyed sampling and voting in the chili cook-off (and later in the evening could get samples of Root Stock cider). The ladies of Rochester Rhapsody delighted everyone with original and classic Christmas carols. Barry’s Old School Irish was pouring free cups of hot cider and hot chocolate (and even though it was pretty warm out, they had a long line). There was cookie decorating, storytelling, and one of my favorites, the Good Shepherd Chime Bell Choir.

Basically, if you weren’t there, you missed a great time. Make sure to put it on your calendar NOW for next year.

The lighting was tough, but I tried my best to get a nice bunch of pictures. Click here to see the whole gallery.

And thank you to the members of the Webster Business Improvement District for sponsoring this delightful event.

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Santa has arrived in Webster

2 Dec

 

Santa arrived in Webster last night! I got a chance to visit with him, and nabbed a cookie to boot.

He had come to St. Martin Lutheran Church for their holiday event, where he took lots and lots of photos with children and sat with them for a Christmas story.  Kids also could make their own Christmas cookies, play board games, do some caroling and even write a letter to Santa which they could deliver in person. Plus, everyone enjoyed free pizza all night long.

As a bonus, the “cost” of admission was a food item to be donated to a food cupboard, and by the time I arrived, a whole cartload of food had been collected.

On that same note, St. Martin Lutheran is introducing a fun new idea this year: a reverse Advent calendar.

The way it works is this: Instead of getting a calendar and opening a little door every day this month, get a box (one from the liquor store works best), and every day this month put a can of food INTO it. By Christmas Day, you’ll have a box filled with food, which you can then deliver to the church for them to pass along to a worthy agency.

What an easy and fun way to spread the love and joy of the season.

St. Martin Lutheran Church is located at 813 Bay Road in Webster.

Your next chances to meet with Webster’s Santa are today (Saturday Dec. 2) at the Harmony House (East Main Street) for Breakfast With Santa until 11 a.m.; at Towne Center Plaza (Target Plaza) from 12-3:30; then at Webster Village Hall (West Main Street) from 3:30 to 6 p.m. for the village’s White Christmas event.

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Christmas comes to Webster Saturday

28 Nov

fire truck

The holiday season officially begins this Saturday in Webster, when the village celebrates White Christmas in the Village. This annual festival features horse-drawn wagon rides, a bounce house, cookie decorating, storytelling, carolers, Santa (of course), and the always very popular Electric Parade.

Activities will begin at 3 p.m. with activities for adults and children throughout the village. The official schedule looks like this:

  • 3 to 6 p.m. — Horse-drawn wagon rides through the villagesanta
  • 3 to 6 p.m. — Bounce House on Main Street
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. — Santa Claus at the Village Hall
  • 4 p.m. — Storytelling at Yesterday’s Muse Book Store
  • 4 p.m. — Cookie decorating
  • 4:30 p.m. — Rochester Rhapsody Carolers
  • 5 p.m. — Church of the Good Shepherd Chime Bell Choir on Main Street

The Electric Parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Phillips Road and head west down Main Street. This spectacular parade features fire engines, floats and marching bands, all draped in thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. You’ll definitely want to bring the kids, but dress warm, and pack a thermos of hot chocolate, because this is a pretty long parade.

(Click here to see a gallery of photos from last year’s White Christmas celebration.)

CaptureBy the way, don’t forget to start out that morning with a hot breakfast, served up by the Chorus of the Genesee.

The Chorus will be hosting their second annual Breakfast with Santa, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster. The menu will feature French toast sticks and sausage, coffee, juice, and milk. Cost is $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. For tickets call (585) 265-9540 or visit chorusofthegenesee.org.

This will be a good chance to visit with Santa before everyone else descends on him when he’s at Village Hall later in the day.

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Bourbon lovers, unite!

15 Nov

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Wine lovers have had their day — OK, lots of them — with the Webster Wine Walks. Now bourbon lovers are getting their turn.

The Webster Business Improvement District BID) and Webster Wine and Spirits will host a Bourbon Bash this coming Saturday November 18 from 6-9 p.m. at the Harmony House on East Main Street.

This is Webster’s very first Bourbon Bash for Webster, and it’s shaping up to be a really neat event.

Organizers have invited many local and well-known bourbon vendors to set up in the Harmony House for tastings. Several local restaurants will also be on hand to complement the bourbons, including Pub 235, The Coach, Gioia Mia Catering, Webster Hots, Smoking Hot Chicks, The Village Bakery and Brimont Bistro.

BBQ Blues Band will provide entertainment as attendees sample great bourbons from distilleries including Heaven Hill, Black Button, Elijah Craig, Iron Smoke Whiskey, Honeoye Falls Distillery, Jim Beam, and more.

Tickets are $20, available at the BID website and Hegedorn’s Market 964 Ridge Road.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Challenger Miracle Field to help finish the local field for challenged athletes.

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Webster Thursday mailbag

15 Nov

imageLots going on as the holidays start to gear up in earnest.

Here’s a fun thing to do this weekend: The Webster Thomas Players will present Shakespeare’s classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream in three shows this Thursday Friday and Saturday, November 16 through 18. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road.

Tickets are $7 and will be available at the door.  Click here to check out a preview of the show.

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On Saturday, Spry Middle School will host a FIRST Lego League competition, which promises to be a fun spectacle.

Here’s a description/press release written by one of the SparX team members:

It’s that time of the year once again! Young students throughout the world are preparing to compete in this year’s FIRST Lego League competition, HYDRO DYNAMICS.

FIRST Lego League is a worldwide competition in which students ages 9-14 compete in challenges by creating a robot using Lego® blocks. In this year’s game, HYDRO DYNAMICS, kids have to create a robot that can do a variety of water-related functions, such as turning on a Lego faucet, flushing a Lego toilet, and replacing a broken Lego pipe. In between the games, the teams also make presentations to focus on the thematic issue presented each season. This season the teams are focusing on the importance of conserving water and the human water cycle. The kids use the scientific method and engineering design to solve their problems.

The last significant part of the game is designing a poster that goes over the fundamentals of Lego League: Discovery, Integration, Inclusion, and Cooperation.

On November 18, a regional competition will be held in Spry Middle School so the kids can show off what they have been working on for the past few months. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:00 a.m. If you are interested and want to learn more about the FIRST Lego League and the FIRST program, stop by or visit firstinspires.org.

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The Chorus of the Genesee has announced their second annual Breakfast with Santa, which will be held on Saturday December 2 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Harmony House, 58 East Main Street in Webster. Photos with Santa will be available.

The menu will feature French toast sticks and sausage, coffee, juice, and milk. Cost is $5 per person, $20 maximum per family. For tickets call (585) 265-9540 or visit chorusofthegenesee.org.

Breakfast with Santa is happening on the same day as the Village of Webster’s White Christmas Festival and Parade of Lights (Saturday December 2), which features holiday activities all afternoon and evening. Watch for a more complete blog about that to come soon.

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The annual Henderson Ford Toy Drive is ending in the next two weeks.

The dealership, along with six other business partners, are calling for the community’s help for new and unwrapped toys. Donated toys are being given to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market.

The Henderson Ford annual toy drive is one of the largest collections in Rochester for both distribution campaigns. The toys delivered by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be distributed in Rochester. The toys delivered to The Furnished 4 Life Christmas Store at the Wedge Market will allow for parental selection and pride in gifting.

You can drop off your new, unwrapped toy donations for all ages at any of the following locations:

  • Henderson Ford, 810 Ridge Road, Webster
  • Steinmiller Insurance, 1223 Bay Road, Webster
  • The UPS Store, 1900 Empire Boulevard, Webster
  • Webster Chamber Health Insurance Service, 1110 Crosspoint Lane Suite C, Webster
  • RAMP (Rochester Area Music Project), 31 West Church Street, Fairport
  • Edge Advertising Group, 6 North Main Street, Suite 220, Fairport

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More news from our local firefighters

25 Oct

IMG_6257xContinuing on what seems to be a Volunteer Fire Department theme this week, I’d like to share a few photos from a fun demonstration held for the students at Plank Road North Elementary School last week.

Several members of the West Webster Fire Department visited the school to present a lesson to the school’s first grade classes.

The students first learned about fire safety, home fire drills and how to “stop, drop and roll.” Then they were reminded that firefighters in full gear might be be kind of scary, but they’re always there to help, so children should not run away from them or hide.

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Firefighters crawl past the students, simulating what they might do at a house fire.

At that point, to demonstrate how a firefighter might enter their house or bedroom in case of a fire, three firefighters — dressed head-to-toe in their helmets, masks, air tanks and turnout gear — crawled their way into the cafeteria and past the students.

Some of the students were a bit startled and scared. But they quickly brightened up when the lead firefighter unhooked her tank, and removed her helmet and mask, revealing she was none other than the students’ music teacher — and Webster Volunteer Fire Department firefighter — Sarah Rosenberry.

After the inside demonstration was complete, each student was given his or her own fire hat and then went outside to see and learn about all of the equipment stored in a real fire truck.

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WVFD open house

And while we’re on the subject of firefighters, don’t forget about the Webster Volunteer Fire Department Open House this Saturday October 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the fire house on South Ave., during the village’s Trick or Treat Trail.

The trucks will be out for the kids to explore, there will be lots of equipment to check out, plus giveaways, refreshments, safety displays, demonstrations, and special activities for children of all ages.

Don’t miss this chance to check out the fire house and chat with our local first responders. Just look for the big fire truck with the ladder reaching all the way to the sky.

For more information, visit the WVFD Facebook page at facebook.com/ WebsterVolunteerFireDepartment.

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Webster Museum hosts cemetery tour

7 Sep

 

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Just in time for the spooky season, the Webster Museum has put together a Webster Rural Cemetery tour for children and adults later this month.

(Actually, it’s not going to be the least bit scary, because it’s happening in the middle of the day, AND there’s a scavenger hunt involved. So basically, it sounds like it’s going to be a fun way to learn a little history.)

The tour will take place on Saturday September 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Webster Rural Cemetery, located at 1087 Ridge Road. Participants will begin in the chapel, tackle the scavenger hunt, and then walk around the cemetery, stopping at different graves to hear stories about some of Webster’s residents and the parts they played in the development of our community.

Cost is $5 for adults, with children 16 and under free. All proceeds will benefit the Webster Museum.  There’s no pre-registration; you can pay when you get there, so bring the whole family!

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Webster Garlic Festival returns this weekend

4 Sep
garlic banner

This year’s Webster Garlic Festival will be held on September 9 and 10. 

One of our town’s newest — and most aromatic — festivals returns this weekend.

The Webster Garlic Festival will return to the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive, this Saturday and Sunday September 9 and 10.

This festival is basically a garlic-lover’s paradise. You can check out garlic-infused foods, garlic seed and garlic gadgets, and demonstrations about garlic foods and garlic gardens. There will be a dozen garlic vendors, and more than 50 other community agencies and craft and general vendors selling everything from cheese, honey and jams to hand-made jewelry and greeting cards. There are so many vendors that they’ll fill the gymnasium and spill out onto the Rec Center grounds.

There’s live entertainment all afternoon, and if it’s anything like last year, there will also be a handful of food trucks where you can get a great lunch.

Admission is just $5 for adults, with kids under 16 free. Hours are Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This annual event is sponsored by the Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs. All proceeds will benefit Challenger Miracle Field, Hope House, Webster Community Chest, three outstanding local causes. So even if you’re not a big fan of garlic, come on out for some good eats, good entertainment, and great shopping.

For lots more details, and a list of all the vendors, entertainers and events, visit the garlic festival website at www.webstergarlicfestival.com.

Here are a a few photos from last year’s event , which benefited from awesome weather. Right now it looks like the sun might shine on the event again.

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Dinosaurs, laughter and play keep a boy’s memory alive

28 Aug

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The memory of young Jack James Heiligman is alive and well, embodied in the smiles and laughter of children at our area’s newest playground, Jack’s Place.

Jack’s Place is a a blue, dinosaur-themed playground at Penfield’s Rothfuss Park on Five Mile Line Road. It was built by a terrific organization called the Jack Foundation, in honor of 3-year old Jack Heiligman, who lost his life tragically last October.

Hundreds of people attended the official opening ceremonies Sunday afternoon, where Jack’s mother Anne spoke emotionally about her son and how the playground has helped fulfill the dream she and her husband AJ had to keep Jack’s memory alive.

She said,

We knew we could never forget Jack, but we didn’t want anyone to forget him. With that in  mind, we started the Jack Foundation the weeks after he passed and were overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit and resources. We encouraged acts of caring and kindness in Jack’s memory and the caring people jumped in and helped. 

People would ask them how they were able to continue after such a devastating loss, to which she responded with a quote from Fred Rogers:

When disaster strikes, look for the helpers. You will always find caring people in this world who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong. 

When the idea came to them to build a playground to honor their son, the support doubled-down. Friends, neighbors, family members and local businesses donated their time, effort and services to help make it a reality. Individuals, local companies, whole families, even children, all started raising money for the project, collecting more than $175,000 in just ten months.

The result of that outpouring of love and effort is a beautiful new play facility which incorporates all of the things that Jack loved most: dinosaurs, climbing and sliding, and the color blue. There’s even a Little Free Library, because Jack also loved books.

There are slides, of course — six of them by my count; spinny, merry-go-round thing that’s quite a bit updated from my day; a bouncy thing; a sand box where kids can “dig” for dinosaur bones; and lots and lots of places where kids can climb and crawl. There are also eight benches, where parents and grandparents can relax.

As I watched countless kids (young and old; I saw a few adults taking to the slides as well) clambering around the playscape, I could imagine Jack playing, smiling and laughing right along with them. I know that Anne and AJ imagined that as well, and I hope the thought gave them some comfort.

Here are some photos from the opening:

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Play ball!

27 Aug
field

A nice photo of Challenger Miracle Field snapped by Mary Holleran

I was honored to be on hand yesterday for the official opening ceremonies for Challenger Miracle Field, a beautiful new sports facility for young athletes with developmental, physical or intellectual disabilities.

It’s located in Ridge Park, 1000 Ridge Road, behind Town Hall. It looks a lot like the Little League fields you’re familiar with, but it’s actually different in a lot of important ways.

It’s totally flat, for starters. There’s no dirt, and no grass. The pitcher’s mound and bases are not raised at all, but instead are painted into the brightly-colored rubberized artificial surface, which allows for all players to round the bases without fear of tripping, whether they’re walking, running, using a wheelchair or walker. The outfield fence is much closer to home than normally, allowing these children a real chance to hit a home run. And the fence is removable so the field can be adapted for other sports.

The field was built especially for the Challenger teams, who are typically given the lowest priority for field availability and only get to play if fields are not in use by other Little League, school or town teams. But the developers also made it clear that the field is available for use by the community; it’s for children and adults of all abilities.

There were a lot of accolades handed out at the almost one-hour long ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday, but one of the comments especially stood out.

At least one speaker called the new Miracle Field a “field of dreams.” That’s a phrase that’s tossed about a lot these days for lesser accomplishments, but I think it fits here.

In Challenger Miracle Field, these kids now have the chance to experience the thrill of playing on a baseball field that looks and feels like the stadiums they see on TV. Every weekend, they can put on a jersey and a baseball cap, step (or roll) up to the plate, raise a bat and be just like any other kid who loves sports.

Thank you to everyone who made this field a reality. Your efforts and dedication have been well rewarded and you are right to be proud.

The work is not done, however. Completely handicapped-accessible restrooms and playground, and a pavilion are still being planned for construction early next year. Fundraising continues to accomplish these goals.

Your next opportunities to help out are at the

Webster Garlic Festival, September 9 and 10 at the Webster Parks and Recreation complex on Chiyoda Drive. Food, fun, and lots of garlic. Hours are 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

3rd Annual Run, Walk & Roll, October 8 at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. I’ll be running this one, so please come out and join me and my friends.

You can read more about Challenger Miracle Field — and donate directly through the website — by clicking here.

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