WARRENSBURG - A good crowd of both town residents and visitors enjoyed holiday festivities at the 20th annual Christmas in Warrensburgh held last weekend, event founder Teresa Whalen said Monday.
Highlights of the celebration included caroling at the tree-lighting ceremony, craft workshops and demonstrations, traditional acoustic holiday music and visits by Santa and two live reindeer, she said.
"A lot of families and children - I'm estimating 2,000 people in all - really enjoyed the holiday traditions in events held throughout town," she said.
Whalen said that a new town resident came up to her during the event Saturday and told Whalen that his daughter, now 21, had been to every annual installment of the celebration. His daughter attended this year with her nephew, and the annual attendance was likely to continue, she said.
"I'm happy to see these traditions are passed down from one generation to the next," Whalen said, noting that she fielded calls this year from people traveling long distances to attend.
The inter-generational traditions extended to the crafters participating in the event.
Rustic furniture maker Barry Gregson of Schroon Lake crafted wooden mallets for children at a late-1980s Christmas in Warrensburg, and at this year's event, his mother Carol Gregson demonstrated wool spinning and weaving at Riverside Gallery, and his daughter Skye Gregson conducted a children's toy workshop at the town hall.
Musical performances at the event were captivating, she said, particularly a reading of The Nutcracker tale at St. Cecilia's Catholic Church. Ritchie Henzler told the traditional tale, accompanied by a recorder ensemble, featuring Ritchie and Elaine Henzler.
"The performance was top quality," Whalen said. "It was truly amazing."
The tree lighting ceremony was particularly charming, she said, with people of all ages caroling together.
The event included harmonies by the Bolton Bay Sound barbershop quartet featuring Lutheria Pratt and Debbie Roberts, Whalen said.
The Warrensburg Elementary School performed at the ceremony, Supervisor Kevin Geraghty welcomed the crowd and Rev. Dawn Robbins of the First United Methodist Church blessed the tree.
Santa, Whalen said, endured a long day listening to many children's Christmas wishes, and he was pleasantly surprised that their requests went beyond material wants. Some children, she said, asked for family reconciliation, peace, household harmony and food for the hungry.
Although Santa, looking tired from all the young visitors, had mentioned this was perhaps his last year, as he was selling his house on Harrington Hill and retiring to Florida. But after experiencing the tree lighting ceremony and hearing the children and adults sing Christmas carols, he changed his mind, Whalen said.
"Santa said he's decided to come back to Warrensburg next year, even if he has to fly up from Florida," Whalen said. "It was really touching."