‘Tis the season for holiday celebrations, and community members came out in force on Sunday to commemorate a regular tradition in the Village of Scotia.
Mohawk Avenue was dotted with Santa hats, festive sweaters, kids eating candy canes and one man wearing a string of Christmas lights. Hundreds of people on Sunday afternoon filtered up and down the road to take part in the village’s 20th annual Holiday on the Avenue event.
The celebration included vendors, carolers, food and activities for kids. Many said the event serves as a great way to bring the community together for the holiday season, and several local businesses got involved as well.
“You look around and see the community getting together and checking out local businesses and community groups – I think it’s awesome.” said Mary Rainey, who attended the event with Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Scotia.
The church was among several local organizations that had tents or tables set up to offer different treats to passersby. The church put on a live nativity scene when Holiday on the Avenue first began, but Sunday marked its first time back in several years, Rainey said.
Visitors stopped by the church’s tent to grab cookies and other baked goods as well as candy canes. Just off to the side, near Village Hall, an a capella group sang “Little Drummer Boy” with about 20 people looking on.
“We’ve come here [to the event] every year for a while now,” one Glenville resident said. “It’s just a nice time, especially when it’s not snowing or too cold.”
The Holiday on the Avenue celebration featured a parade along the street at 2 p.m., a chili-tasting contest, live music and more. It concluded with a tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. The attendees — many of them wearing Santa hats and other holiday garb — mostly consisted of families with younger children.
Just outside the Scotia Fire Department, members of village law enforcement handed out cups of chili and hot chocolate.
“You can use this as a hand-warmer, too,” one firefighter said to a young boy, handing him a plastic cup filled with chili.
Police blocked off Mohawk Avenue in the village from North Ballston Avenue to Sacandaga Road. Vendors stationed along the street mostly gave out baked goods and hot chocolate, but some offered crafts and other holiday-themed goods.
Local businesses situated along Mohawk Avenue took part in the event as well. For example, Scotia Cinemas had a 2:15 p.m showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and the Scotia Diner hosted a cookie-baking contest.
A few dozen people had packed into the First National Bank of Scotia to listen to the Scotia-Glenville Chamber Orchestra. Various community music groups performed in the bank throughout the day.
The Scotia Rotary Club had two separate tables set up along Mohawk Avenue, with both making s’mores for attendees. It became one of the more popular vendor stands at the event as children lined up for a snack.
“When you have something with chocolate in it, it always seems to be popular,” said Doug Roylance, who was roasting marshmallows over an open fire with other Rotary members.
The Rotary Club has been making s’mores for visitors during the last four or five Holiday on the Avenue events, Roylance said.
A few Rotary members agreed that the annual Scotia tradition serves as an alternative to the commercialized nature of the holiday season.
“You see lots of nice people, and it’s something fun to do, particularly when the weather is nice,” Roylance said. “You can bring your kids, you don’t have to shop for anything and you can celebrate the season.”
Reach Gazette reporter Brett Samuels at 395-3113, [email protected] or @Brett_Samuels27 on Twitter.