Posts Tagged ‘holiday festivals’

Finger Lakes Festival of Lights Underway

November 4, 2021
Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, a new, world-class, attraction featuring thousands of dazzling lights, is now open every evening through December.

Finger Lakes Festival of Lights, a new, world-class, attraction featuring thousands of dazzling lights, is now open every evening through December. More than 1,000 illuminated silk, porcelain and steel larger-than-life Chinese lanterns draw visitors through a magical path of discovery with each turn providing beautiful and unexpected moments of excitement and awe.

Seneca Lake was carefully selected for this incredible show because of its natural, outdoor setting known for its unparalleled vistas, crystal clear water and majestic trees and foliage. The show brings this scenery to life after dark, creating an experience that celebrates and enhances the natural world at night through artistic fantasy and illumination.

Produced by American Lantern Festivals Inc., the Finger Lakes Festival of Lights illustrates the story of a brother and sister who visit their grandfather in the Finger Lakes. Grandpa spins tall tales and stories about Seneca Lake.

The Finger Lakes Festival of Lights is a one-mile, self-guided walk through the woods, on a highly manicured path that’s accessible for people of all ages and abilities. The Festival is located behind Grist Iron Brewing in Burdett. The experience is open seven days a week, opening at 7PM with last entry at 9:30PM. (Grist Iron Brewing Company, 4880 NYS Route 414, Burdett, NY 14818, 929-434-1342,

All tickets are single use general admission and allow entrance to the festival anytime after opening date.

Tickets start at $19.95 if purchased in advance online; the cost at the door is $30; children four and under enter free. Information and tickets are online,

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Black Friday? Bah, Humbug! Celebrate ‘Bright Friday’ With Opening of Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles, NY

November 18, 2019

Skaneateles-Dickens XmasA Dickens Christmas festivities in Skaneateles, NY (photo by Kimberly Rossi).

The magic of the holiday season returns to Skaneateles, New York with the 26th edition of Dickens Christmas.

Enchanting holiday shoppers as it brings “A Christmas Carol” to life, Skaneateles’ iconic street theater production opens Nov. 29 and runs weekends through Christmas. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with a limited show (noon to 2:30 p.m.) Dec. 24.

Suspend disbelief: you are in the year 1842.

Queen Victoria has arrived in town with Charles Dickens, whom she has commissioned to write a Christmas story. During their monthlong stay, Dickens gains inspiration from a bevy of now-familiar characters, including Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the Spirit of Christmas Past and the Ghost of Jacob Marley, along with finishing school girls, pickpockets and other villagers.

New to this year’s production is Washington Irving, author of such tales as “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” in town to welcome Dickens and the Queen.

Each week, the story unfolds as Dickens and his entourage interact with cast members and passersby.

“The real magic of our little Christmas party is the human connection we make when we look each other in the eye and wish each other well,” says producing director Jim Greene, who plays Dickens. “For the past 26 years, we’ve had the opportunity to revel in the greater gift of simply caring for one another.”

Dickens Christmas draws more than 20,000 visitors each year. It is produced by Scarlett Rat Entertainment and presented by Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Skaneateles-area business community.

Highlights of this year’s season include:

  • World’s Smallest Christmas Parade. Nov. 29, starting at noon at the Skaneateles Village Hall on Fennell Street, proceeding east to Jordan and Genesee streets and arriving at the Hannum House porch in time for the 12:10 p.m. grand opening.
  • Midday Revels—Christmas carol sing-along—2 p.m. every day at the gazebo. Twelve groups form, representing the 12 days of Christmas. The groups vie for attention, and at the end, Queen Victoria awards a silver teasel to the most spirited performer. Winners have been known to wear their coveted silver teasels throughout the season.
  • Trunk shows—lighthearted versions of Dickens’ new story, performed with help from the audience—12:30 p.m. at the gazebo and 3 p.m. at the library each day.
  • Horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides around the village, departing from the Sherwood Inn, provided by Rt. 80 Quarry Ridge Stables. Wagon rides are $3; carriage rides are offered for a $20 donation.
  • Magic shows, performed by the Very Peculiar Prestidigitating Packwoods, 1 p.m. Sundays at the Skaneateles Library.
  • A snowman-building contest in Clift Park Dec. 21 (weather-permitting). Bring your own supplies and creativity! Queen Victoria will judge the entries at 2:45 p.m. First prize is a $50 gift certificate from the Sherwood Inn; second prize is a Dickens mug and cocoa.
  • “It’s A Wonderful Life! The Radio Play,” presented at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Auburn Public Theater. Tickets are $10.
  • Free refreshments, including roasted chestnuts, figgy pudding, and Byrne Dairy eggnog served by the Girl Scouts (Saturdays only).

For children, Mother Goose will read holiday stories, and Father Christmas will hand out treats from the porch of the Masonic Temple.

“While you’re in town, be sure to visit our unique shops and restaurants—the perfect complement to a holiday outing,” says Hilary Fenner, executive director of the Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce. “And stop by the Chamber, at 22 Jordan St., for commemorative scarves ($15 with an embroidered logo, $10 without), mugs ($10 with cocoa, $8 without) and ornaments ($5).”

Paid parking is available in the municipal lot between Jordan and State streets; free parking is available in the lot adjacent to Ace Hardware/Skaneateles Town Square on Fennell Street and at the Austin Park Pavilion, at the corner of Jordan and Austin streets. A horse-drawn wagon will shuttle between both locations and the village. Tickets for the shuttle, which runs 11:30 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., are $3 per person each way, $10 per family (maximum of six people). Shuttle riders will receive a coupon for a free ornament from the Chamber.

For more information on Dickens Christmas, go to, call (315) 685-0552, or follow the event on Facebook (Skaneateles Area Chamber of Commerce or Dickens Christmas in Skaneateles).


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Culture-Rich ‘Yuletide in Taos’ Holiday Celebration Returns to Taos, NM

November 26, 2014

TAOS, NM—Taos, New Mexico’s unique, magical holiday tradition of “Yuletide in Taos,” is just weeks away from unwrapping, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot on Nov. 22 and culminating with the meaningful Taos Pueblo Christmas traditions through Dec. 25.

“There’s no other place that brings the warmth of rich cultural holiday traditions to life than Taos, where the senses come alive with the lights, sounds, and experiences that are unique to this town. Plus, with Taos Ski Valley’s new chairlift to Kachina Peak, skiers can now experience some of the highest ski runs in the world,” said Town of Taos Mayor Dan Barrone.

Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27, skiers will be able to experience Taos Ski Valley’s Kachina Peak at an elevation of 12,450 feet thanks to a recently installed chairlift – one of the highest chairlifts in North America.  The lift will increase the mountain’s advanced and expert lift-serviced terrain by 50 percent. Also new during the 2014-2015 ski season, expert skiers will have the chance to access 35 acres of terrain off the West Basin Ridge known as “Wild West Glades.”

The purchase of two new air compressors at Taos Ski Valley is expected to optimize the resort’s snowmaking capabilities, resulting in earlier access to more terrain and more snow. The resort will be open on a limited schedule Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 7. Visit for complete information.

In time for the start of holiday shopping, many businesses in downtown Taos are offering tax-free shopping from Nov. 29 through Dec. 13. Businesses will have a decal on store fronts indicating their participation, which saves shoppers 8.1875 percent on items.

The 29th annual Yuletide Arts and Crafts Fair, Nov. 28–30, provides a head start on holiday shopping with dozens of arts and crafts made by local artists including jewelry, tin work, carved santos, paintings, and much more. Gift wrapping is available and guests will have a chance to win door prizes. Santa will also make an appearance each day. There is no charge for the fair, which takes place at the UNM-Rio Grande and Bataan Halls in Taos.

The highlight of Yuletide in Taos – the 28th annual Yuletide Caroling and Tree Lighting – brings the community together as Taos Mayor Dan Barrone lights the town Christmas tree in Taos Plaza at 4 p.m. Then, the Plaza will be open to foot traffic only, and Plaza businesses will have special offerings including complementary hot cocoa, cookies, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus and the Grinch who will handing out 200 toys donated and distributed by the Taos Optimist Club Elves. The local Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts along with Taos Middle and High School choruses will sing traditional Christmas songs, and live entertainment will be provided by a number of local artists. A Yuletide Parade is scheduled at 4:55 p.m. Special parking arrangements will be provided for people requiring ADA access to the event. There is no charge for the event, and all are welcome to attend. Contact Judy Esquibel at 575-737-2588 for details.

On Dec. 6, Millicent Rogers Museum will host a free “Holiday Fiesta” for families with holiday-centered activities at the museum from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $2 for kids 2–16 years of age. Visit for more information.

One of the holiday staples in Taos, Lighting Ledoux, will illuminate historic Ledoux Street with hundreds of farolitos, luminarias, and bonfires on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 4–7 p.m. Galleries, shops and museums are open later, and offer complementary food and hot drinks while carolers serenade passersby along the way. There is no charge to attend.

Eighteenth century-built historic “great house,” Hacienda de los Martinez, is hosting a tree lighting event at 3 p.m. on Dec. 7 at their “Memories in Lights” event, followed by a program with music by Los Pastores. A reception will follow. Visit for more information or call 575-758-0505.

The Working Class Theater and Taos Youth Ballet will perform an adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol” at the Taos Community Auditorium from Dec. 10–14 with a 7 p.m. performance each night. Tickets are $17 for adults; $10 for 18 and under; $5 for 5 and under. Tickets go on sale Nov. 15 and can be purchased by calling the TCA at 575-758-2052. Working Class Theater is a 501c3 non-profit and is in need of donations. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit

The furry members of the family can get in on the Christmas spirit at the John Dunn Shops’ “Santa Paws” event, from noon to 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. Santa Paws will pose with pets for pictures. Animals in need of loving homes will be available for adoption, and food and beverages will be on hand. The event benefits St. James Pet Food Pantry.

Within walking distance of the Santa Paws event, Bent Street will be lit with small farolitos and luminaries as part of “Bonfires on Bent Street,” from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 13. Businesses will offer food, music, appearances from Santa and more.

The rich Spanish tradition of “Las Posadas” takes place Dec. 14–22 at 6 p.m. nightly, where everyone can participate in re-enactments of Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging. Each night, the group representing the Holy Family will stand outside a home and sing songs, asking for lodging, only to be turned away. Followers carry candles as the couple searches for a home which will eventually take them in on Dec. 24. Begins at St. Francis de Asis Church.

Taos Pueblo celebrates their traditional Christmas Eve Procession on Dec. 24 at sunset, which is unlike anything else of its kind. The celebration is a stunning contrast between massive bonfires and the Procession of the Virgin with rifle salutes from the rooftops of the 1,000 year old adobe pueblo buildings. Taos Pueblo natives will perform a ceremonial dance on Dec. 25, known as Taos Pueblo Deer (or) Matachines Dance. The dance takes place at 2 p.m. in the Taos Pueblo’s Plaza. No cameras or cell phones allowed. Visit

Several ski resorts along the Enchanted Circle including Taos Ski Valley, Angel Fire, Sipapu, Enchanted Forest, and Red River are all hosting their own Christmas Eve Torchlight Parades on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24. Watch as skiers make their way down ski slopes in the dark with flares as their only means of light. Taos Ski Valley is also the place to be on New Year’s Eve with their fireworks show and parade, beginning at 6 p.m. Visit for more information.

For a complete list of all Yuletide in Taos events or for lodging information and specials, visit
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Best Holiday Illuminations in New Jersey

November 19, 2014

41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour, taking place Dec. 6, 13 & 27, displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery. The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening.

41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour, taking place Dec. 6, 13 & 27, displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery. The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening.

TRENTON, N.J. – The Garden State will sparkle with candlelight tours, glittery floating Christmas trees, finely festooned Victorian homes, and historic lighthouses decked with Yuletide greenery.  Across New Jersey’s neighborhoods, townships and seaside retreats, December is celebrated with tradition and 21st century twists. Check the list of festive offerings at

Here is a look at some of the highlights of the season.

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse (Dec. 5, 5-7 p.m.) in Wildwood invites visitors to its annual Norman Rockwell-like Christmas tree lighting with Santa, music, refreshments and free admission.  The working lighthouse and museum is open to the public for guided and self-guided tours that give a glimpse of lighthouse keeping life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

41st Cape May Christmas Candlelight House Tour (Saturdays. Dec. 6, 13 & 27, 5:30 – 8:30p.m.), displays America’s largest collection of historic Victorian structures dressed in holiday finery.  The self-guided tours will feature at least a dozen homes, inns, hotels and churches each evening, all decorated with Yuletide flair.  Carolers and strolling musicians, Victorian festooned trees and garlands, and welcoming hospitality centers with warm beverages and home-baked goodies enhance the merriment and good cheer. Ticket prices include admission to the historic Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, and “An Old-fashioned Christmas: Holiday Traditions through the Years” exhibit at Carriage House Gallery.  Plus, continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys.

Historic Smithville magically floats more than 120 lighted Christmas trees on Lake Meone (Nov. 28-Jan 1) the moment darkness falls.  The trees are constructed from more than 50,000 Christmas lights that are orchestrated with music.  The glittering trees reflect the water’s surface and appear to dance and chase each other across the lake.  Each store in Historic Smithville is outlined in white twinkle lights that inspire a visit to the welcoming winter wonderland setting of unique shops and enjoyable eateries.

Holiday Candlelight Tour of Rockingham Historic Site at Kingston (Dec. 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.), is a uniquely themed tour of George Washington’s final Revolutionary War headquarters and the small farmhouse that is preserved and interpreted as the temporary residence of George and Martha Washington. The candlelight tour will display 18th-century Christmas traditions and celebrate New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. Holiday tour guests will learn about different aspects of New Jersey’s history as they pass from room to room, led and informed by the period-dressed Live Historians Club of Montgomery Township High School.  Period music will be presented by Practitioners of Musick, light refreshments will be available and the museum store open. Advance tour reservations are required, suggested admission donation is $5 and must be made by calling 609-683-7132 through Nov. 23 or 609-683-7136 after Nov. 23.

Storybook Land’s Christmas Fantasy with Lights (Nov. 28 – Dec. 30), has been a South Jersey Tradition for more than 25 years.  Santa Claus will appear in his chimney promptly at 5 p.m. daily and wave his magic wand to light the park with over one million lights.  All of Storybook Land rides, attractions and snack bars will be open.  Santa will be in his house and light the park each evening through Dec. 23.

At 36 feet, Cranbury claims New Jersey’s largest Christmas tree with 46,000 lights – more than the Rockefeller Center tree in New York City!  Beginning Nov. 28, the entire holiday display of 120,000 lights will be choreographed with 19 songs – four new ones this year, and dance to the music for 70 minutes.  New Jersey’s Number One Christmas Display for Charity will light up Cranbury for those in need and 100 percent of all donations made given to the Local Food Bank. A way of giving back to community, one New Jersey family prepares and pays for the annual free holiday display and asks visitors to donate what might have been spent on a family night at the movies – all for a good cause.


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