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The village sparkles this time of year

21 Dec

It was a beautiful night for a walk last night, so in between football games, my husband and I extracted ourselves from the couch and wandered down into the village to check out the sights.

I love how Webster looks at holiday time. It just sparkles from end to end, making an already charming village look even more so. If you haven’t walked along Main Street after dark recently, you owe it to yourself to do so; it will help brighten what for most of us is a pretty bleak holiday season.

But there’s also another reason to make the trip: many of the local merchants are participating in a Christmas Decorating Contest. Community members are invited to drive or walk through the village to check out all the decorations, then go online to the BID website to vote for the most colorful, the most creative and the one which most embraces the spirit of the season. You can also see photos of the entries on the BID website.

Here are several photos I took on our walk.

And here’s a quick note about a Webster Public Library program which the whole family will enjoy.

It’s a “Holiday Storytime Extravaganza,” a staff-wide holiday storytime special. It premieres Monday night at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Click here to join the fun.

This is the first time the library has done anything like this, so it should be filled with a lot of surprises. Get your kids in their PJs, boot up the laptop, and tune in.

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Village of Webster hosts three fun holiday contests

9 Dec

The Village of Webster is doing its best to put some sparkle and fun into this very unusual holiday season.

In the next few weeks, the Webster Business Improvement District (BID) will host three contests designed to get community members out and about and exploring the village.

The first, a Gingerbread House Contest, is going on right now through Dec. 12. Six village businesses have created some very fanciful gingerbread houses. Community members can see each one at the participating business or online at websterbid.com and vote for their favorites. Three prizes will be awarded for Most Creative, Best Decorated and Most Traditional.

The participating businesses include:

  • Bernardi & Company CPAs, 40 Barrett Dr.
  • Beyond Cuts Salon, 33 North Ave.
  • Finn’s Automotive, 45 E. Main
  • Martino’s Pizza, 160 W. Main
  • Xceed Credit Union, 189 W. Main
  • Maplewood Nursing Home (must be viewed online)

This contest ends on Dec. 12, so get your votes in soon.

And by the way, get together with your family and come up with your own gingerbread house creation. Take a photo and email it to Elena@websterbid.com, and you could win a prize, too!

Next is the Snowman Scavenger Hunt, which runs for one week from Dec. 13 to 19.

The kids are especially going to like this one. Each participating businesses will hang a snowman poster inside the store or in the window, and each poster will have a different word on it. Players need to collect all the words to reveal a secret phrase. There will be 15 snowmen in all, and hints for where to find them will be posted on the BID website. Participants are also encouraged to take a creative picture with each snowman.

The top two puzzle solvers and the most creative photo with a snowman will each win a prize.

Finally, the week before Christmas, make sure to get downtown to see the village sparkle as shop owners decorate their windows and doors for the BID’s Window Display Contest. Community members can vote online for the Most Creative, the Most Colorful and the best Spirit of the Season.

For more information about all these upcoming holiday events, visit the BID website.

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Parade of Lights recap (photos and video!)

6 Dec

Click these links for more photos:

I’ve also posted several videos at the end of this blog.


The Village of Webster tried something new last night: a reimagined Holiday Parade of Lights to replace the very popular parade which winds down Main Street during the village’s White Christmas celebration every (non-COVID) year.

It most respects, it was very successful. Most would say too successful, actually.

While organizers expected only 4,100 cars to weave through the 1/2-mile long “parade,” many more unexpectedly showed up, creating very long wait times.

It was an unfortunate and aggravating situation for everyone, to be sure. But those who endured the invonvenience were rewarded with a magical and spectacular display courtesy more than 50 first responder agencies, community groups and local businesses who came out in force and endured the weather, their bodies and vehicles covered in twinkling lights.

People waiting their turn in the staging parking lot might have been grumpy, but when they saw what awaited them in the main lot, their frowns disappeared.

What I saw during my time there were kids and parents beaming, leaning out the windows waving back at the exhibitors. One girl yelled “This is AMAZING!” As they finally came to the end of the parade, the children positively exploded with delight upon seeing Santa wishing them a “Merry Christmas,” and many parents took the time to honk their horns, show a thumbs-up or yell “thank you!”

There’s been a lot of grousing on various social networks by families disappointed with the event. The criticisms are legitimate. But I’m sure the organizers and exhibitors would love to hear from folks who enjoyed themselves, despite the aggravations. These are people who spent hundreds of hours pulling together miriad details to create a much-needed holiday event, some of whom were outside in the cold and rain and snow for more than 12 hours.

So I would ask that comments here be positive and supportive. Because despite everything, The Holiday Parade of Lights gave everyone who waited in those long lines one magical night when we could forget about COVID and life seemed a little bit more normal.

Here are some videos from the event:

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Here’s a shopping challenge for you

27 Nov

Perhaps it’s just the fact that “Black Friday” has turned into “Black Friday Week” because people are spending more time at home and shopping online, but it seems to me that this year’s Black Friday craziness has been a little muted.

I’d like to encourage everyone to not let that happen to Small Business Saturday, which happens tomorrow, Nov. 28.

Our small business owners need our support more than ever this year help them survive this pandemic. Especially if we’re headed to an orange designation which might throw us back into another round of retail restrictions.

So I propose this challenge: sometime this holiday season, make a commitment to purchasing at least one gift at a small business. Even if (or especially if) you just need stocking presents, step into a small shop you’ve never been in before and I guarantee you’ll find something unique and perfect.

The North Bee, for example, at 27 North Ave. This is one of my favorite shops in the village, because I can always find something fun and different for office gifts or stockings.

The North Bee is packed with products from the hive, but goes far beyond just honey. (But if you or someone you love fancies honey, there are countless varieties here.) You have to check out her beeswax Christmas ornament tree, and beeswax statuettes for example. There are candies and even soft drinks, all honeybee-based. And Amy has really begun to focus her product line on health and wellness, like natural elderberry syrup and propolis products.

The North Bee has just celebrated its second anniversary, so Amy must be doing something right.

Another one of my favorite shops is The Village Quilt Shoppe at 21 E. Main. I’m not a quilter, but I like to stop in here occasionally just to say hi to the owners, Vanetta and Monique, who are two of the nicest people I have ever met. They’ve got all sorts of sales going on right now and a chance to win a gift raffle.

This is the perfect place to find a gift — or a gift card — for that quilter on your list.

And of course I can’t sing the praises of Lala of Webster enough. This adorable shop at 38 E. Main is packed with unique and creative gifts and is a must see for anyone shopping in the village. Owner Lisa Scholnski always has something new up her sleeve. Stay tuned for news soon of a special offering for seniors that’s in the works.

These three are just my favorite village shops, but li’l old Webster has so much to offer. Here are a few highlights:

  • Know someone who would rather read than do just about anything else? Grab a gift certificate from Yesterday’s Muse booksellers, 32 W. Main.
  • Performance Hobbies, 15 W. Main, is a hobbyist’s paradise.
  • How about supporting the musician in your family with something from The Music Store, 18 E. Main?
  • Grab some beautiful hand-made holiday chocolates at The Goodie Shoppe, 83 North Ave.
  • Nest Things at 11 E. Main is kind of like an upscale Grandma’s attic, packed with “carefully rechosen items” for the home, mother-to-be, and children. Lots of surprises in here.
  • Brighten up your holiday table and home with some flowers and wreaths from Kittleberger’s Florist, 263 North Ave.

And don’t forget to save some time to enjoy a snack and beverage at one of the village’s restaurants and pubs. You should definitely stop into Barry’s Old School Irish just to see the lights they’ve strung.

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Own a business? Join Webster’s Holiday Parade of Lights!

18 Nov

Have you heard about this year’s reimagined Parade of Lights, happening Saturday Dec. 5?

This very popular event, always the highlight of the Village of Webster’s White Christmas, was cancelled because of COVID restrictions. But it’s back — albeit a little different.  

Normally, fire trucks, community and business floats, and marching bands, all covered in twinkling holiday lights, parade down Main St. past thousands of spectators. This year, the trucks and floats will be stationary, and spectators will drive past them, enjoying the lights and music from the safety and warmth of their own cars.  

More than 1,500 cars have already registered to drive through and enjoy the display. Now it’s time for more businesses and community agencies to jump on board. 

As an exhibitor, you’ll be assigned a spot where you can park your vehicle for the entire parade, where upwards of 2,000 cars will drive past to see your holiday lights display and business information. (At an average of four people per car, that’s 8,000 people.) Plus, every participating business can provide marketing material for a VIP goodie bag which will be safely handed out to spectator vehicles as they enter the parade route. 

This is an outstanding opportunity to reach out to thousands of new and existing customers, and remind everyone that you’re still in business. So get registered, grab some holiday lights, and plan to have some fun! 

The Village of Webster Holiday Parade of Lights is scheduled for Saturday Dec. 5 from 3 to 8 p.m. on San Jose Dr. rain or shine. Participation is free, but you’ll need to register so organizers know how many vehicles to expect. For more information and to register, email 2020websterparadeoflights@neqals.orgRegistration is required by Nov. 25. 

You can also find more information about the event at the 2020 Webster Parade of Lights Facebook page.

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The Parade of Lights is back (with a twist)

6 Nov
This year’s Parade of Lights will look a bit different, but will still be awesome!

The holiday season isn’t going to be a complete bust after all.

Our local first responders have come up with a way to still enjoy Webster’s annual Parade of Lights, the sparkling climax to the Village’s annual White Christmas celebration. Even though White Christmas has been cancelled, the parade will still go on … sort of.

Instead of all the trucks and floats driving past spectators along Main Street, this year spectators will be able to stay in the warmth of their cars and drive past the trucks and floats.

Here’s how it’s going to look:

On Saturday Dec. 5, first responders (fire deparments, EMS agencies, police departments), businesses and community groups will bedeck their vehicles in lights and decorations and line up in one of the very large Xerox parking lots off of San Jose Drive.

Then, from 4 p.m. through 8 p.m., families will be invited to drive through the lot and check out the light display. A pre-event viewing time from 3 to 4 p.m. will be reserved for those with special needs and the elderly.

Spectators will be directed to approach the event via Salt Rd, turning west on to San Jose Drive. Visitors will be asked to sign up online for one of the eight 30 minute time slots to manage traffic flow. Visitors can register on the EventBrite website, searching 2020 Webster Holiday Parade of Lights or by clicking this link.

Businesses and community agencies who are interested in participating should email 2020websterparadeoflights@neqals.org to get a link for on-line registration.

Details are still coming together, but organizers have started up a Facebook page where they’ll be keeping everyone up to date, so make sure to “like” the page. But in the meantime, mark yor calendar today for Dec. 5, and sign up for a time slot!

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Virtual costume contest winners announced

3 Nov

Congratulations to the winners of the first ever (and hopefully only) Village of Webster Virtual Costume Contest!

The village normally holds its costume contest at the beginning of the Trick or Treat in the Village event. Of course that didn’t happen this year, so instead, families were encouraged to get all dressed up and email photos to the judges at Village Hall.

Fifteen families accepted the challenge. The winners were:

  • 1st Place: Mint Chip Ice Cream
  • 2nd Place: Baby Horse Jockey
  • 3rd Place: Headless Horseman
  • 4th Place: Shark Family

Here’s a slideshow of all the other costumes as well:

The contest was sponsored by Monroe County Legislator Matthew Terp, who is providing gift cards to not just the four top winners, but to family that participated.

Hopefully next year, Trick-or-Treating in the Village will be back, along with the costume contest. But in the meantime, thank you to everyone who helped pull this together and who joined the fun.

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Parade of Pumpkins a spooky hit

25 Oct

If last night’s attendance at the Webster Recreation Center’s first-ever Parade of Pumpkins was any indication, people are starved for family entertainment.

An estimated 1,500 or so adults, teens and children walked the mile-long Chiyoda Trail last night, so many people that cars filled the Rec Center’s parking lot, and quickly overflowed into the lot across the street.

As they strolled along the path, visitors were greeted by about 450 uniquely carved, glowing jack-o-lanterns lining both sides of the path. The designs ran the gamut from traditional and whimsical to spooky and just plain weird. I saw a unicorn, cats, witches, a moose, flowers, and lots of toothy grins.

At the end of the parade, everyone was treated to donuts and cider, served in the Rec Center’s expansive playing fields, with plenty of space for social distancing.

Parks Commissioner Chris Bilow and Recreation Supervisor Katie Kovar spent much of the evening welcoming families at the parade entrance. They were delighted not only by the turnout, but also by how many people thanked them for pulling the event together.

The enthusiastic response was a pleasant surprise. “We expected maybe 100 pumpkins from the community,” Kovar said. Even still, it only took a few hours for the staff members to place them along the path, adding some extra surprises like a pumpkin-light banner and twinkly lights along the path’s two bridges.

It was a beautiful night for a stroll, and a great opportunity for people to discover one of Webster’s best walking paths.

Bilow and Kovar are already thinking about next year, when COVID restrictions will not limit them to an all-outdoor event. They’re thinking maybe creating two paths, one just for toddlers and small children. Perhaps having music, games and crafts. Basically, making it a big fall festival, both inside the Rec Center and out.

“People want to do things like this at the holidays, and who better than (the Webster Rec)?” Bilow said.

Here are some more photos from the evening:

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Webster community mailbag

21 Oct

There’s lots going on this autumn in and around the town. I’m going to start today’s mailbag with a few reminders about some fun events you will NOT want to miss.

This Saturday, Oct. 24, the Webster Health and Education Network is sponsoring a Fall Drug Drop-off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Webster Wastewater Treatment Facility, 226 Phillips Rd. This is an excellent opportunity to safely dispose of any unused or expired medications which are clogging up your medicine cabinet.

Registration is not required for this event, but if you sign up on their website, they can send you a reminder the day before the event.

And remember, there’s a pharmaceutical drop-box at Town Hall, 1000 Ridge Rd., in the police station’s foyer, where you can drop off your unused pharmaceuticals any weekday during regular business hours.   


Also this Saturday, the Webster Recreation Center will host its first ever Pumpkins on Parade.

From 6:30 to 8 p.m. this Saturday Oct. 24, you can stroll along the Chiyoda Trail behind the Rec Center and view a parade of brightly glowing jack-o-lanterns. Afterwards, visitors will be treated to free cider and donuts.

But don’t just come and see the jack-o-lanterns. Create one yourself!

Children, adults, businesses, organizations, pretty much anyone who wants to participate is encouraged to carve a pumpkin and drop it off at the Rec Center on Friday Oct. 23 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. OR Saturday Oct. 24 between noon and 2. The Rec staff will be sure to get your creation out on the path for everyone to enjoy.

Multiple carved pumpkins are allowed and encouraged. For each carved pumpkin, participants will get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a great prize.

Businesses who choose to participate can leave a business card with their pumpkin and the Rec Center will make up a little sign to accompany it on the path with your name and logo.

Everything will be ready for viewing from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This is a free event and will run rain or shine, so put it on your calendar, and get carving! The Recreation Center is located at 1350 Chiyoda Drive, off of Phillips Rd.


And don’t forget about the Village of Webster’s costume contest. It’s going virtual this year, but there are still some great prizes to be awarded.

Here’s how it works:

  • Email a photo of yourself in your costume to VOWcostumecontest@gmail.com no later than October 29 at midnight. Group costumes will also be accepted.
  • Judges will take a look at all the entries and award prizes. Winners will be announced on Oct. 31 (Halloween) by noon on the Village of Webster Facebook page (so make sure to “like” the page!) Winners will also be contacted via email and/or by phone, as long as you’ve included that information with your submission.
  • Winners will receive gift cards to a Village of Webster business of their choice.

All (appropriate) submissions will be featured on the Village’s Facebook page, so smile big! I’ll also post the winning photos here on my blog.

So go “like” the Village of Webster Facebook page, check back frequently for updates, and get working on those costumes!


Here’s another fun, albeit virtual, event for the whole family.

It’s a Halloween Magic Show, presented by the Webster Recreation Department.

It takes place online on Friday Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. Cost is $10 per family and pre-registration is required. Check the poster for more information, then visit the Rec Center website to register.


Looking forward to November…

Thanks to COVID-19, the Village of Webster can’t have its usual sit-down Veterans Day luncheon. Instead, they’ll be providing take-out meals for any interested veterans or service men and women on Wednesday Nov. 11.

The village is still working out the details, but so far we know that the meals will be paid for by the Village of Webster and made by Brimont Bistro.

The “luncheon” will be handed out at Village Hall, and a ceremony will still take place at Veterans Park, where everyone will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines unless you’re with family. Mayor Byerts will speak.

More details to come about this. But for now, if you’re a veteran or know of one, mark your calendar and spread the word.


The Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf is also looking forward to November, specifically their holiday dinner distributions.

Thanks to COVID, the Penfield Ecumenical Food Shelf has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families needing help with accessing food this year. There’s been a more than 30% increase since March, and the food shelf is now serving between 138-150 families weekly.

Very soon, frozen turkeys will start going on sale at local grocery stores. If you’re able to grab an extra and donate it to the food shelf, it would go a long way to help feed our neighbors in need. Smaller sized turkeys are fine, 8-12 lbs. if possible.


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A parade of pumpkins comes to the Rec Center

18 Oct
This image comes from Victor, which holds a Jack-o-lantern Trail every year. Let’s make Webster’s just as spectacular.

Another great Halloween-themed event is coming to Webster this year, this one hosted by the Webster Recreation Center.

It’s called Pumpkins on Parade, scheduled for Saturday Oct. 24 along the Chiyoda Trail at the Rec Center, 1350 Chiyoda Drive.

Basically, the Chiyoda Trail — which stretches for a mile around and behind the Rec Center — will be lined with brightly glowing Jack-o-lanterns. Visitors can walk along the trail and enjoy all the creativity and spookiness. Then afterwards, there’ll be free cider and donuts for all.

But before this can all happen, the Rec Center needs Jack-o-lanterns!

Children, adults, businesses, organizations, pretty much anyone who wants to participate is encouraged to carve a pumpkin and drop it off at the Rec Center on Friday Oct. 23 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. OR Saturday Oct. 24 between noon and 2. The Rec staff will be sure to get your creation out on the path for everyone to enjoy.

And don’t just stop at one pumpkin. Multiple carved pumpkins are allowed and encouraged. The more the spookier! And for each carved pumpkin, participants will get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a great prize.

Businesses who choose to participate can leave a business card with their pumpkin and the Rec Center will make up a little sign to accompany it on the path with your name and logo.

Everything will be ready for viewing from 6:30 to 8 p.m. This is a free event and will run rain or shine, so put it on your calendar, and get carving!

My personal thanks to the Rec Center for coming up with this great event. It will add a little bit of fun to an unusual Halloween season.

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email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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