By Charlie M. Holmes
---- — It’s not just a line from “A Christmas Carol” anymore. Anyone who has been on Main Street in the past couple days knows “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” everywhere you go.
This past Sunday, Santa’s cottage in Pioneer Park was decked out in lights and garland, and the 44 poles around downtown were decorated by volunteers.
“It’s a true community event, which is phenomenal,” the president of the Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee Barbara Cannon said.
More than 65 people were involved in decorating Cooperstown this year.
“We’ve got a core group of people who come year after year. They came with their kids and are now coming back with their grandkids to do their poles, so that’s pretty cool,” Cannon said.
The Cooperstown Community Christmas Committee starts meeting every year in August or September.
“We re-group to see what worked, what didn’t work, what needs tweaking, what worked well and we’re always looking for ways to make it more efficient,” Cannon said.
Some of the decorations need to be re-made each year. Every year, Claire Satriano makes the kissing balls that hang from the poles and committee members replace about half of the bows that didn’t survive the weather during the previous year.
Decorations are assembled in kits by the committee before decorating day so the volunteers have exactly what it needs at their pole when they arrive.
A couple of years ago the work that goes into decorating Cooperstown was cut down when the old lights were replaced with LED lights.
“It was a lot of work testing the lights,” Cannon pointed out. “We don’t have to even test the lights anymore.”
The LED lights have two other advantages — they cut down on the energy used and they won’t have to be replaced for 16 years.
Santa’s house received a new coat of paint and some window glazing this year, courtesy of Redpoint Builders. Electric radiant heat pads were also added to help keep Santa and Mrs. Claus toasty during their stay in Cooperstown.
Funding for the decorations comes through grants and donations.
“Every year the Scriven Foundation has been very generous,” Cannon said. “We send out fundraising mailers in early November. We are very fortunate that we have the donors that we have every year.”
Santa will arrive in Cooperstown this Friday evening.
“There’s a parade. We have the middle school marching band ... . Greg Hall has this beautiful team of wonderful horses that pulls the sleigh that Santa is sitting in, and this year about 30 kids, who are the children of Cooperstown Central School’s faculty and staff, will be riding with Santa. It’s just magical,” Canon said.
Friday evening the high school choir will sing Christmas carols, elves from the middle school will be out and about in the crowd, Frosty and Rudolph will be on hand, and free hot cider, donated by the Fly Creek Cider Mill, will be available to keep everyone warm.
Mrs. Claus said that last year close to 6,000 children visited Santa in Cooperstown between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.