The Decemberfest tree lighting draws hundreds of people to the Village each year.
With the holiday season officially in full swing, Pawling is poised for the return of two community events that will help residents and visitors get into the festive spirit. Next weekend will see the return of the Decemberfest Tree Lighting celebration on Friday, December 6, followed by the second annual Champagne Stroll on Saturday, December 7.
Presented by the Pawling Chamber of Commerce, the Decemberfest celebration draws hundreds of visitors to the Village each year. The community gathers on Charles Colman Boulevard outside the Chamber Building for food, music, and the lighting of the Christmas tree to officially kick off the holiday season. “We want to give the community a hallmark event to enjoy this holiday season,” explains Chamber of Commerce President Peter Cris.
As usual, Decemberfest is the combined effort of numerous local organizations, including the Town and Village, who come together to provide a memorable evening for everyone to enjoy. Volunteer Peer Leaders and teachers from Pawling High School will decorate the Chamber building interior before the event. Volunteers from the Village and Town will assist in the assembly of the Christmas Tree in the chamber building.
The Decemberfest celebration will be particularly special this season, as an outpouring of generous donations from throughout the community ultimately made the evening possible. Each year, thousands of dollars are required to make the evening possible, with expenses coming from the installation, labor costs, and professional expertise necessary to set up the LED lights that the Chamber of Commerce purchased three years ago. Facing a shortfall of funding, community leaders appealed to residents and local businesses.
What followed was a truly heartwarming display of generosity and community spirit, which included numerous donations from individuals and businesses, including funds contributed by Mindy and Randy Levine ($9,000), Putnam County Savings Bank, and more than 25 other donors. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to sponsor the holiday lights for the Pawling Community,” said Mindy Levine of her enormously generous contribution. “We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season.”
With Decemberfest saved by the community’s generosity, attendants that evening can look forward to musical performances from the Pawling High School Band and Chorus on the Village Green, as well as hot chocolate from students at Trinity-Pawling, soups served by representatives from The Grand, and hotdogs served by the Pawling Bible Club. This year, the musical performances will be held ion the Village Green allowing families to stroll and enjoy the live entertainment from the gazebo and north to the chamber building. The east side of Colman Blvd. will be closed to traffic and parking before and during the event which will eliminate congestion. The event will begin at 5:00 P.M., leading to the countdown to the tree lighting at 6:00, followed by the arrival of Santa Claus on a Pawling Fire Department truck. Families can visit with Santa in the Chamber of Commerce Building to take photos and receive a gift from Santa.
“So many people have a hand in putting this together,” says Peter Cris. “The Pawling Fire Department and Fire Police under the direction of Fire Chief Everett White, the Sheriffs, Constables, the Village crew, the volunteers, and all the generous donors. I also want to thank our Chamber’s Executive Board. Without them, we never could have pulled this together.”
The following evening, the Pawling Chamber’s Merchants Committee will present the second year of the Champagne Stroll in the Village. From 5:00 to 8:00, guests are invited to visit the Chamber of Commerce Building to receive a champagne flute and a map which will guide them to numerous local businesses which will offer free champagne as well as holiday promotions and discounts.
“We’ve added new businesses this year, and people are excited,” says John Ragusa, member of the Merchant’s Committee and owner of the Imperial Castle Toy Shop. “We had such amazing success last year. It was a freezing cold night, but hundreds of people came out. It felt like one big party, and it was a great way for people to come out and meet their local businesses.”
This year’s Champagne Stroll will not only be limited to businesses on Charles Colman Boulevard, but will also see participants from throughout the Village. “You’ll definitely want to grab a map before you start,” adds Ragusa. “There are some hidden gems that you won’t want to miss”