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Columns

July 3, 2009

This Wonderful Life: The perfect weekend to visit — or live here

Cooperstown knows how to do holidays. Other towns may attempt quaint and heart-warming holidays, but Cooperstown just happens to have both the small size and the community resources to outshine even a Hollywood rendition.



Take Halloween. Every Oct. 31, children from all over Cooperstown and the surrounding villages and hamlets gather on Main Street, in costume, to parade up Main Street, toward Chestnut and onward to the Fire Station, where they are treated to some good-natured tricks and no small amount of candy. For the youngest children, the march to the Fire Station may signal the end of trickor- treating done mostly in daylight. Meanwhile, older kids and their families fan out through the maze of village streets, knocking on one decorated door after another, teaming up with classmates and walking until they just can’t ring one more bell.



It is my assertion that Cooperstown should have a Welcome Committee that gives newcomers with children a literal welcome wagon that they can take out on Halloween (and to the Farmers’ Market and the Christmas Parade), so little ones will have a smooth ride home or to the car.



Christmastime is even more outrageously quaint, with Santa himself (not some polyester-bearded ``helper’’) heralding the beginning of the season in the annual Christmas parade.



Surrounded by village youngsters, Santa and Mrs. Claus take the opposite route into Cooperstown’s Main Street, riding a sleigh, drawn by jingling horses from Railroad Avenue down to the corner of Main and Pioneer streets, where the park holds a small outpost of Santa’s North Pole HQ. Throughout the season, children can visit him there, and post wish lists in his mail box.



It’s enough to make Frank Capra himself call us corny. And then there is July Fourth — Independence Day.



Cooperstown wasn’t actually born on the Fourth of July, but it might as well have been for the way it embodies (and delivers) a picture-perfect country celebration. I remember my first Fourth of July in Cooperstown. Visiting from Florida, where early July turns everything into sweltering sandpaper, we were enchanted by the lush, green hillsides and the fact that we had to wear sweaters for an early evening excursion on the lake.

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