Montgomery County and the Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge Chamber of Commerce are set to present Elves Day Out on Saturday, Dec. 3., a Christmas holiday-themed event featuring a daylong slate of events, showcasing the village of Canajoharie’s picturesque downtown area.
“When you walk through Canajoharie it feels like you’ve stepped into a scene straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie,” Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said. “It’s a feeling I always enjoy sharing with others and this event will enable people across our region to experience the magic of the Christmas season.”
In previous years, the village had hosted a Friday night-event called Elves Night Out, but this year the county’s new tourism committee, which includes members of the Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge Chamber of Commerce, decided to expand the tradition in an effort to attract families from throughout the region to what it hopes will be one of its new signature tourism events of the year.
“I envision our little village becoming a Christmas season destination; something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge Chamber of Commerce President Janet Stanley. “I’ve always looked at Canajoharie as a hidden gem. It’s time to show our sparkle to the world and build this great event with the help of our friends at the county.”
Montgomery County Director of Communications Morgan McClary and Business Development Center Director of Program Development Vincenzo Nicosia worked with Stanley and businesses in the village to organize events leveraging the village’s historic storefronts and ambiance, and aimed at appealing to families and holiday enthusiasts in a variety of ways.
These are the scheduled activities that have been announced for the day so far:
• 8:30 a.m — Elves Day Out will begin with a 5K Ugly Sweater fun run to benefit the Canajoharie Youth Center. The road race was organized by Youth Center President Tim Shepard. Runners are encouraged to wear “the ugliest sweater you can find” for a run along the Erie Canal bike trail, with the start and finish of the race at Lee’s Shops at Wagner Square on Mohawk Street. All registrants will receive a unique gift and prizes will be given to the top 3 finishers in each age group. Walkers are allowed provided they can finish within 1 hour of the start. There is a $20 entry fee for running in the race, with the proceeds going to the youth center. To register, go to runsignup.com and search “Ugly Sweater 5K Canajoharie.” The registration deadline is Dec. 2. at 11:59 p.m.
• 10 a.m. — The Canajoharie Library and Art Gallery will open and remain open all day with free admission to the museum. At 11 a.m., the library will host story time with Mrs. Claus. Then, at 1 p.m, the Boiling Pot Eagles will host a free lunch with characters from the Disney movie franchise “Frozen” Elsa and Olaf. A second lunch seating will begin at 2 p.m.
• Noon to 6 p.m. — Vendors, crafts and games will be set up at the Canajoharie Youth Center, 9 Erie Blvd., and at State Farm Insurance, 32 Church St., where free gift wrapping will also be available. The Shults Farm Market and Deli, 69 Church St., will offer Bug Country 99.7 FM hot cocoa and “make-your-own Reindeer Food,” as well as farm tractor shuttle service. The Berean Bean restaurant, 64 Church St., will have homemade chili and live music featuring Clare Wettemen. Radio station Bug 99.7 will conduct a live broadcast on Mohawk Street promoting the “Stuff the Bus” charity, with the broadcast acting as a collection point for donated gifts for less fortunate children. The radio broadcast is sponsored by the Tire Shop, 155 Erie Blvd.
• 4:30 p.m. — At the Christmas Tree located across from year-round Christmas store Lee’s Shops at Wagner Square, 24 Church St., there will be singing before the tree lighting ceremony set to proceed the parade, with fire pits to warm up available in the Lee’s Shops parking lot.
• 5 p.m. — The traditional “Parade of Lights” will line up on Mohawk Street, then travel east to Moyer, down Maple Avenue, back down Montgomery Street, left on Church Street, across the bridge to Palatine Plaza, down LaFayette Street, left on Grand, right across the bridge, left on Erie Street and back to the Canajoharie Fire Department. The parade will feature the arrival of Santa Claus. No candy, however, will be thrown from any vehicles out of concern for children’s safety. There will be no walkers in the parade and entities interested in entering parade floats are asked to contact Janet Stanley at 315-525-3582.
• 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Santa Claus will be available to meet with children at the Canajoharie Fire Department. There will also be Christmas cookies, hot cocoa and a “selfie station” for some unique selfies sponsored by Sarah Majestro Rosemyer.
There is also a scavenger hunt planned that will feature items located at different participating stores.
Ossenfort explained the county’s goals for the event in a new release.
“We’re excited to partner with the chamber to make this year’s festivities even more memorable,” he said. “Having the event on a Saturday will open it up for people beyond the county’s borders, something we think is important as we try to attract new visitors to our community.”
The Elves Day Out Facebook event page includes more information about the event, including an advisory that children attending must be accompanied by adults and that there should be “no drop offs.”