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Don’t miss this holiday light display

10 Dec

house

If you and your family like traveling around the neighborhoods during the holidays to see the different Christmas light displays, read on, because I want to tell you about one that you shouldn’t miss.

It’s at the home of Charlie and Cora Venishel, 100 Henderson Drive in Penfield (across from the library and Penfield Recreation Center).  For years, in addition to an incredible front and back-yard light display, the Venishels hosted a magical Christmas town inside their home, with a gingerbread house toy shop, miniature villages, hundreds of nutcrackers, electric trains, exquisitely decorated dining rooms, and more. For a small donation to the Ronald McDonald House Charities, families could enjoy the front yard decorations, tour the village, then wander out into the backyard where thousands more lights twinkled. (Click here to read the D&C column I wrote about it.)

The couple hosted the event for ten years, raising more than $30,000 for Ronald McDonald House. After the 2015 season, they decided to hand off the villages to their children. But they’ve continued to set up their amazing front yard display in the years since, and have added something new every year.

Visitors will see all varieties of Christmas trees, trumpeting angels, icicles, lighted walkways, huge “Season’s Greetings” sign on the roof, Santa’s mailbox, and an Ice Princess’ castle, all illuminated with somewhere around 25,000 twinkling lights. There are also giant candy canes and life-sized snowman, and an antique, refurbished sleigh with Santa and Mrs. Claus, led by eight reindeer (and Rudolph, of course).

Like many private home Christmas light displays, the effect is breathtaking. But what’s different is the Venishels’ continued commitment to helping others. They’re encouraging visitors to help them raise money for AutismUp, a local organization dedicated to supporting those with autism spectrum disorder. They’ve put a mailbox at the end of the driveway for anyone who might like to drop in a dollar or two for the cause.

So make sure to stop by the Venishels’ display, 100 Henderson Drive. Park for a bit and actually wander down the sidewalk to the Ice Princess’ castle. Then tuck a few bucks into the mailbox before you leave. It’s a great way to share the joy and love of the holiday season.

 

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Photos from White Christmas in the Village

2 Dec

IMG_0015Once again we didn’t have a whole lot of white for Webster’s White Christmas in the Village. But I’ll wager that the thousands who came into town for the cookies, wagon rides, caroling and visits with Santa appreciated the unusually warm temperatures.

We could have done without the light rain, though, which began just as the parade started.

Still, it was another successful event. The village looked beautiful, the businesses were all decked out in their holiday finery, and several who remained open throughout the afternoon benefited from a steady flow of holiday shoppers.

Of course I took a lot of photos. Many of them didn’t come out very well because of the low light and wet conditions, but I hope you enjoy what I did manage to get:

Click here to see the gallery. 

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Santa is coming to town! Here’s where to see him.

16 Nov
santa jim 2

Santa Jim with some young friends at Village Hall last year. 

I exchanged a few emails with Santa last night (yes, he has email; it is the 21st century, after all), and got the down-low on when you and your kids will be able to catch him around town in the next few weeks.

And when you won’t.

First, the “won’t.” Anyone who has been used to catching Santa at Webster Towne Center plaza (Kohl’s plaza) every holiday season will be be disappointed to hear that the plaza will not be hosting him this year.

But as I mentioned in a previous blog, Santa will be at St. Martin’s Church on Bay Rd. on Friday Nov. 30 for their Christmas celebration. He’ll read a story, there’s cookie decorating and free pizza…Scroll down to see Wednesdays’s post, or click  here for more details.

On Saturday Dec. 1 he’ll greet children at Webster Village Hall from 4 to 5:45 p.m. Then he has to get ready to take a ride on a fire truck for the Electric Parade down Main Street, which begins at 6 p.m. You don’t want to miss this one.

Of course the area shopping malls are always a good place to catch Santa, and as far as I know, our very own Santa Jim is still spending some time in the Santa chair at Eastview.

You can also catch Santa (but not Santa Jim), by the way, at the Chorus of the Genesee’s Breakfast with Santa on Saturday Dec. 1 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. I’ll have more information about that soon.  Click here to get tickets for that.

I also spent a few minutes last night looking back on the column and follow-up blog I wrote about Jim Lockwood, or as I affectionately know him, “Santa Jim.” If there’s a holiday event in Webster, chances are he’s the Santa in the chair. If you’re at all interested in a behind-the scenes look at Webster’s best-known St. Nick, including the training involved and how many kids tug on his beard (the answer might surprise you), click here for the blog I wrote following my meeting with him. It’s really pretty interesting.

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I wish Webster had scarecrows

17 Oct
Turning Point

Probably my favorite scarecrow in Victor, created by The Turning Pointe dance studio.

Fairport does it up big. This year Victor is doing it, too. Business owners all along the town’s main streets are lashing scary and whimsical scarecrows to the lamp posts near their shops.

Fairport’s done it for years, and they’ve become such an important part of the village’s Scarecrow Festival that it’s even named after them. Victor is doing it for the first time this year as part of their second annual Spooktacular Victor event. In both cases, the scarecrows are a main festival feature. But they also will draw families to town at other times, which means more foot traffic for local business owners.

I really wish Webster would do this to. Or more accurately, I wish Webster would do it AGAIN. As recently as five years ago the village did organize a scarecrow contest, and even invited community members to vote. You know what that means: people actually had to COME INTO TOWN to look at them, and that can only mean good things.  And what nice decorations they made for when thousands of adults and children descended on the village for the Trick-or-Treat Trail.

So c’mon, Webster BID. Can we do this again next year? Think of how nice they would look alongside those beautiful planters, and what a nice addition they would be to our village’s Halloween events.

Here are photos of a few others in Victor:

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What did YOU do this weekend?

15 Oct

IMG_9635

Boy, wasn’t Sunday just a picture-perfect autumn day?

The firefighters at the West Webster Fire Department really lucked out with the weather for their open house, allowing them to pull all their rigs out of the bays, set up SO MANY food tents and give-away tables, and give little wanna-be firefighters a chance to go through an inflatable fire-safety house (never seen one of those before) and use a real fire hose to extinguish some not-so-real flames.

I popped by the event and snapped some photos, making sure to give a wide berth to the free hot dog table and free doughnut table. Click here to see a gallery.

IMG_9574

The annual Webster Fall Festival held Saturday afternoon didn’t have quite as good weather. An already cool day was made even more so by a lot of clouds and a stiff wind. But the brisk temperatures didn’t seem to bother the large numbers of families who attended.

The event was held at Gosnell Big Woods Preserve on Vosburg Road, which provided plenty of open space for kids’ games, pony and wagon rides, classic cars, food trucks, a live entertainment stage, and a few community agency information tables.

The event benefited Rochester Challenger Miracle Field, which is a great cause not only because it’s right in our own Webster back yard, but it’s simply an awesome facility for the differently-abled.

Click here to see a gallery of photos from that afternoon.

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History, miniatures and music

14 Sep

Three really cool events are coming up next weekend, and I want to give you a heads-up about them now so you can get them on your calendar.

museum tour

First, on Saturday Sept. 22, the Webster Museum and the Webster Union Cemetery are joining forces for a Living History Tour at the cemetery.

The tour, which takes place from 1 to 4 p.m., will introduce you to several of Webster’s citizens from the past, played by museum volunteers. You’ll hear their stories and be able to ask questions about what their lives were like back when our town was young.

Click here to read a more detailed blog about the event, including the people you will be meeting. Webster Union Cemetery is located at 345 Webster Road (Rt. 250 at Woodhull). A $5 donation would be appreciated.

On Sunday Sept. 23, ROC City Scale Modelers will host their 37th annual ROCON scale model show and contest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

If you’re even a lukewarm fan of scale models, you have to see this show. The Rec Center’s gymnasium is lined with tables displaying hundreds upon hundreds of miniatures including aircraft, auto, armor, figures, ships, juniors, fantasy and more. For those who choose to enter models, the cost is $10 for 1-3 entries for adult modelers, $2 for each additional model, and $1 each for junior entry (15 years and under). You can register when you get there.

For those who simply enjoy modeling as a hobby, there are also a lot of vendors at this event offering the latest books and gadgets. Basically, it’s a modeler’s paradise.

Once again, ROCON 37 will take place Sunday Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Webster Recreation Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive. General admission is $5 and children under 12 are free.  Click here for more information

 

rhapsody

Finally, how about extending your weekend with a song?

On Monday Sept. 24, Webster’s own Rochester Rhapsody will be holding open rehearsals for women of all ages.

Rochester Rhapsody, the Rochester chapter of Harmony, Incorporated, is an international organization of female a cappella singers specializing in the barbershop harmony style.

Female guests can “FALL in Love with A Cappella” at the Harmony House, 53 E. Main St. on Monday Sept. 24 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., during the group’s open rehearsals. If you can’t make it that Monday, you can stop in also on October 1 and 8.

Women of all ages can participate in vocal warm-ups and exercises in a relaxed environment, learn new songs, meet with other women, and enjoy an evening of singing and camaraderie.

“If you like to sing but haven’t had much experience, we’ll help you find your voice,” said director Sue Melvin. “The beautiful harmonies, when shared, bind us together. I’m very proud to be a part of this group…it’s more like a family than just friends. It’s ordinary women coming together to make extraordinary music.”

The 3-week event will culminate in a concert performed for the local community on October 15 at Harmony House at 7:30 p.m. All of the guests who have attended open rehearsals will be invited to join in the performance.

For more information about “FALL in Love with a Cappella,” and about the chorus itself, click here. a copy of our flyer or information on Rochester Rhapsody chorus, email info@rochesterrehapsody.com or call 585-865-2731.

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5Ks come to Webster this summer

18 Aug

Runners, take note, because this is something that rarely happens.

If you like to compete in 5Ks, but don’t like traveling too far out of town to do so, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s not just one, but TWO 5K races coming up within four weeks of each other, right here in Webster.

first responders

The first is the First Responders 5K, scheduled for Friday August 31 at 6:30 p.m. This is a brand new race, created to honor and support our local first responders.

This information about the race comes from the event’s Facebook page:

The First Responders 5K will recognize the strength, perseverance, and courage of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, and their families in our local community.

First responders put their lives on the line for us every day as they face hardships that most of us will never know. The repetitive negative experience of stressful and potentially traumatic events that first responders face on a daily basis leaves them particularly vulnerable to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The event is designed to raise awareness for PTSD in first responders and raise funds for a local charity to provide support for those who suffer from its effects.

The race begins at Fireman’s Field on Ridge Road, just west of the village of Webster. Cost is $20, or $10 for active first responders. T-shirts are not included but may be ordered for an additional $10. The race will be chip-timed, with finisher medals, post-race food and live music. To register or find out more information, click here.

run walk and roll

This next race also benefits a great cause.

It the 4th annual Run, Walk & Roll 5K and 1 mile stroll to benefit Challenger Miracle Field. I’ve run this race every year, so I can attest to how fun it is.

Proceeds from this event will help build Play with Possibilities Playground at the Challenger Miracle Field of Greater Rochester Complex. These inclusive spaces will provide people 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. All kids will be able to participate in elevated and ground-level play with ramps, transfer points, and sensory–rich play opportunities throughout so that the play space is friendly to all children and parents as well as other caregivers, such as grandparents and service animals.

This all-inclusive family-friendly event encourages participants to run or walk, push a wheelchair, push themselves in a wheelchair, or participate with other assistive devices including adaptive bicycles and tricycles.

The courses start and end at Webster Thomas High School, 800 Five Mile Line Road. Registration is open at 8 a.m. The 5K, including wheelchair athletes, will kick off at 9:30. The 1-mile stroll will begin at 9:35. Packet pick-up and in-person registration will take place that morning. Prizes will be awarded, and the first 200 registrants get a free t-shirt, which you can wear proudly to show what a good person you are.

Cost if you pre-register is $20 for the 5K and $17 for the one-mile stroll. In-person registration at the race will cost $30/$22. For more information and on-line sign-up, click here.

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Explore a “hidden gem” with the Friends of Webster Trails

15 Aug

Even if if you’ve hiked some of Webster’s fine trail system, you may not know about this one.

It’s the Midnight Trail, which can be found just south of Webster Park. On Sunday August 26, The Friends of Webster Trails would love to introduce it to you at their second of three Hidden Gems hikes, a series designed to introduce nature lovers to some of Webster’s lesser-known trails.

The two-mile hike will begin at 1 p.m. at Whiting Road Nature Preserve, cross Whiting Road and head into Webster Park via the Midnight Trail loop. The trail will have some rolling terrain but is not too steep.

This hike will be held rain or shine, but any changes to the event will be communicated via email, so please sign up by clicking here. Anyone is welcome to attend, but please leave your pets at home this time around.

The map below, pulled from the Friends of Webster Trails website, shows the trail you’ll be hiking. Make sure to check all the trail maps and other great information on that website. Then go over to the membership page and throw these folks some cash to thank them for creating and maintaining Webster’s awesome trails.

midnight trail

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Waterfront Art Festival returns this weekend

26 Jul

art fest

The Waterfront Art Festival returns to North Ponds Park this weekend, July 28 and 29.

This popular festival features artists from all over Monroe County, who line North Ponds’ scenic and shaded walkways, displaying an incredible variety of hand-made craft 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 is all so different and so high-quality. I remember picking up several unique Christmas gifts last year.

Plus there are food trucks live entertainment, demonstrations and a wine, beer and cider-tasting tent. There’s plenty of free parking right on the grounds, and an expanded handicapped parking area.

The festival runs from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday at North Ponds Park, off of Rt. 104 between Rt. 250 and Holt Road (you’ll wan to take the Rt. 250 exit off of Rt. 104).  Admission is $3, no charge for kids 12 and under. For more information, click here for the Waterfront Art Festival website.

 

So many things happening in the village

24 Jul

This time of year is packed with so many village events, it’s hard to keep up with them. But here’s a quick run-down:

Movies

toystoryTONIGHT (weather permitting) is the next family-friendly Movies in the Parkfeaturing the classic favorite (can we call it a classic yet?) Toy Story. Tonight’s movie will begin around 8:45 in Gazebo Park on North Ave. Hegedorn’s will be on hand to provide free popcorn, but feel free to bring your own picnic baskets, and don’t forget chairs and blankets. You can get up-to-the-hour weather updates here.

The upcoming movie schedule includes Early Man on July 31, Cars 3 on August 7, Coco on August 14, and Disney’s Big Friendly Giant on August 21.

Music

The Friday Night Concert Series heats up again this weekend when The Industrial Blues Band takes to the gazebo stage this Friday July 27 beginning at 7 p.m., with their mix of contemporary blues and classic rock.

Upcoming concerts feature Escape Terrain on August 3, the Rochester Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra on August 10, and Travis Fitch on August 17. PLUS there’s a bonus concert on August 9, when Kittleberger Florist hosts Rochester Brass and Electric to help celebrate their 90th anniversary.

Wine Walk

The last Village Wine Walk of the summer takes place on Saturday August 11 from 4 to 7 p.m.

These are really fun events. For $15 you get a wine glass and a map, and enjoy an evening with friends strolling through the village, sampling wines at lots of local businesses.

New venues have been added for this final summer walk, and after it’s done, hang around and enjoy some fireworks, hosted at Kittelberger Florist to celebrate their 90 years in business.

Wine not your thing? The village’s second Beer Walk is scheduled for September 15, and a Bourbon Bash on November 10. More details to come about those.

village band

More Music

Finally, don’t forget about the Webster Village Band! They host concerts almost every Thursday during the summer at the band shell on Phillips Road.

The concerts begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Feel free to bring a lawn chair and blanket and some snacks and beverages.

The next concerts are scheduled for this Thursday, July 26, then August 2, 16 and 23. In the event of rain, concerts are moved to Cherry Ridge Senior Center, across the street from Webster Schroeder High School on Ridge Road.

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