By Howard Balaban
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — There is a well-known Christmas song that starts with the words, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” On Saturday, that feeling was prominent on the cheery faces of people throughout downtown Medina as part of the 6th Annual Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration.
A number of events for people of all ages took place during the day. Some of them were performances, and some were of the hands-on variety to get children enthusiastic about the holiday season.
At Case-Nic Cookies children were invited to decorate Christmas cookies. Some of the shapes available to be frosted and sprinkled were snowmen, wreaths, and snowflakes. Among the children who participated in the cookie decorating were Addison Paul, 5, and Aidan Paul, 7. Their mom, Julie Paul, said the day’s festivities were a great way to help the community.
“This is good for local merchants,” she said, adding that it is better to shop locally than go to a mall at such a busy time of year.
Also at Case-Nic Cookies were Riley and Austin Tompkins, 5 and 7 years old, respectively. Their dad, Chris Tompkins, said what Medina offered on Saturday was something he could not find in a big city. A Medina native, he and his family recently moved back to the area after living in Richmond, Va.
“We were always looking for something like this (near Richmond) but we couldn’t find it anywhere,” Tompkins recalled, speaking about a certain hometown feel that many embrace as part of the magic of the holiday season.
“When we finally had the opportunity to move back here, we did,” he said. Then he smiled and continued, “We decided if we couldn’t find a place like Medina, why not move back to Medina?”
Elsewhere in downtown, the Medina Theater was open for its first Olde Tyme Christmas. This year, rather than wait in the open air — which was quite cold and featured a stiff breeze — parents with little ones who wanted to see Santa Claus could wait indoors on a line that led to the stage portion of the building where the jolly old man was waiting, along with Mrs. Claus. Santa patiently listened to wish lists from a host of excited children, while Mrs. Claus sat across from him and read various Christmas stories.
One of Mrs. Claus’s most patient listeners was Landon Miller, who will celebrate his fourth birthday within the next month. He was accompanied by his mom, Megan Kelly, and several other family members. Kelly, who made the trip from Newfane, said she was impressed with the village’s amount of activities available, especially for young kids.
The Medina Theater’s owner, Joe Cardone, said he overheard a number of people mention how nice it was to have the theater be part of the celebration. “Many people had experiences in this place when they were younger, and now they can share in new experiences with their children and grandchildren,” he said.
Cardone added the success of Medina’s holiday hoopla has caused surrounding communities to explore adding similar celebrations to their calendars. However, he pointed to Medina’s as a local standard.
At the opposite end of town, The Candle Nook offered patrons the opportunity to make their own candle. Some of the participants included Landan Costich, 4, and his cousins Penelope and Claira Keppler, 3 and 5, respectively. Landan said the most exciting parts of Saturday were meeting Santa Claus and seeing the parade. Claira said making the candle was a lot of fun.
Kari Costich, Penelope and Claira’s mom, said the events of the day showcased the village in a very positive light.
“There’s a great hometown feel and it shows that there’s a lot of pride in all the small businesses downtown,” she said.
The event coordinator, Lisa Trippensee, put a lot of hard work into organizing the celebration, according to Medina Business Association President Cindy Robinson. Robinson filled in for Trippensee on Saturday because Trippensee was recovering from an illness. She said the hard work paid off as “everything went smoothly” throughout the day.
“Today went really, really great,” Robinson said. “All of the events went off well and we had a wonderful crowd for the Parade of Lights.”
Robinson attributed the celebration for the increased foot traffic in downtown. “Every store I went into I saw a ton of people,” she stated.
Additionally, Robinson said the success of this year’s Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration showed that the hard work put into revitalizing the Medina Business District is paying off.