Christmas fever kicked off in earnest throughout Schoharie County on Saturday.
Sharon Springs began its Christmas shopping season with a Victorian Holiday Celebration and Cobleskill hosted an evening parade that culminated in the lighting of a Christmas tree in Centre Park.
Despite numerous symbols of Christmas in the Cobleskill parade, including a golf cart decorated with tinsel and lights, multiple Santa Clauses and kids with reindeer antlers, there was enough candy to provide a strong Halloween vibe to the proceeding.
Four-year-old Keegan Strobeck was well positioned to make a killing at the parade, stationed at the start and benefitting from overeager parade participants tossing out candy canes and other sweets.
Robert Himme of Cobleskill helped him carry the loot.
“It’s better than Halloween,” he said.
Even the Cub Scouts who were marching in the parade, but not throwing out candy, broke ranks when the glint of a candy wrapper on the street caught their eye.
It wasn’t all about candy, though, as the Cheer Dome Angelz cheerleaders were focused on spreading a different kind of cheer as they marched through the street.
“Remember, you’re passing different people,” said coach Leelani Succi before the parade to young girls wearing antlers and Santa caps, “so get louder and louder.”
The girls were also fighting off the cold, but Succi assured them none would be turning into a snowman. None froze up during the march, as they could be heard chanting long before they could be seen and even after they had passed out of sight.
After reaching Centre Park, they were rewarded with hot chocolate and cookies.
The parade also featured some of the classic holiday sights, but with a twist. Santa Claus, as portrayed by Schoharie resident Doug Handy, traded in his reindeer and sled for a snowmobile on a flatbed trailer.
The display was part of an effort by the handful of snowmobile clubs in the county, including the Cave Country Riders, to spread awareness about their efforts. Handy, who traveled with a bag full of presents, said the Christmas theme was for the kids.
“It’s a lot of fun,” he added.
There weren’t any snowmobiles or many other inventions from the 20th century on display in Sharon Springs, where they held their third Victorian Holiday Celebration.
Main Street was bustling with shoppers in the afternoon, with many adopting the old style of dress: men wearing black coats and tophats and women wearing wide dresses and hats and sporting furry handwarmers.
“It’s kind of nice to go back in time,” said Rita Lacis, who was wearing a purple handwarmer and a floppy purple hat with a purple feather in it. “[The celebration] is very quaint. It’s beautiful.”
And even though her attire wasn’t unique, she added, “I’ve gotten a lot of reactions from the beautiful purple feather hat.”
Lacis, who is from New Jersey and owns a vacation home in Delaware County, was escorted by Long Island resident Brandon Ryan, who was wearing a red bowtie and vest and a bowler hat. Ryan said he had to piece his outfit together.
Regarding Lacis’s attire, he joked, “She dresses like that every day.”
The pair had been shopping in the early afternoon, picking up soaps at McGillycuddy’s Naturals and a few items at other shops.
Despite the chill along Main Street, people were out and about all afternoon, with buildings like the recently revived Roseboro Hotel alive with excitement. The building hosted music and had Christmas trees on the long front porch, Victorian-era clothing on sale for people with nothing old to wear and holiday crafts on display.
As the day moved along to the late afternoon and Lacis was looking for the next thing to do, she said, “I’m going to try to find the town crier and see what is coming up next.”