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Scotia holiday tradition continues in spite of winter storm

Scotia holiday tradition continues in spite of winter storm

Organizers forge ahead with a snowy Holiday on the Avenue
Scotia holiday tradition continues in spite of winter storm
A spry Santa gives children high fives as he runs along the parade route during Scotia's Holiday on the Avenue Sunday.
Photographer: Marc Schultz / Gazette Photographer

Only the bravest and most bundled up Scotia residents took on the first major winter storm of the season to attend the village's 23rd annual Holiday on the Avenue event on Sunday afternoon. 

The longstanding annual street festival, which takes place on Mohawk Avenue, has been organized by the village's Special Events Committee since 1996. 

Each year, the side streets off of Mohawk Avenue are blocked as festival goers mill around, visiting a variety of vendors and participating in a number of different activities. This year, a couple of popular outdoor activities, namely the bounce house and pony rides, backed out ahead of time due to the forthcoming inclement weather. 

However, festival organizers assured would-be attendees early Sunday that the event would continue as planned, as the snow was not forecast to begin in earnest until the late afternoon and the festival would be finished by 5 p.m.

"We're still going forward. Hope to see you On The Avenue!" organizers posted on social media on Sunday morning to the relief of many.

Proving that the snow wouldn't get them down, Santa and Mrs. Claus marched down Mohawk Avenue at the start of the festival, waving to passersby while flanked by fire trucks.

Festival-goers, many of them clutching hot drinks or huge bags of kettle corn being sold on the street, also took the chance to warm up in one of the many participating restaurants before continuing their trek down the street. 

Some restaurants, including Mohawk Taproom & Grill, DeMarco's Rt. 5 Pizza, the Scotia Diner and the Turf Tavern, along with the Scotia fire and police departments, all faced off in a chowder competition. Based on votes by festival goers, the Fire Department's chowder took the top spot. 

Others organizations used the cold weather to complement their outdoor winter activities, including the Scotia Rotary Club, which saw members outside, as the snow swirled around them, making s'mores over a large fire pit. Nearby, local carolers were not dissuaded from coming together to sing holiday tunes, many of them completely bundled up with the exception of their faces, so they could sing.

"You simply have to hear the Scotia-Glenville Choralaires singing if you really want to get into the holiday spirit," said Glenville resident Barbara Santori, as she waited inside the Mohawk for the performance to start. "You hear them sing and it doesn't even matter that it's cold and snowing."

Some people were brave enough to come out to the street festival on their bicycles. Not letting the weather get them down, they rode very slowly through the streets, laughing at some close calls they had which would have ended with a fall right into the snow.

"I knew it was going to be snowing, but I was already on my bike, so I thought, what the heck, I'll just come check things out in this," said Bill Mahone, who lives nearby on South Ten Broeck Street. "I live five minutes away, what's the worst that can happen?"

"It's definitely survival of the fittest out here right now," Lisa Webb, another Scotia resident, said as she and her friend huddled by the rotary club fire to stay warm. "But I'm enjoying it. The snow really shows you that the holiday season is here."

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