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‘Jovial’ and bright:Tree lighting part of events in Gowanda

Submitted photo Shown is the arrival of the Christmas tree which was donated by Dixieland Tree Farm. The tree lighting ceremony will take place on Saturday at approximately 7 p.m. near the end of the day-long Christmas in Gowanda activities. Pictured are Melinda Spire, Chamber President Nick Crassi, Gary Patterson and Carol Sheibley.

GOWANDA — For the 10th consecutive year, the Gowanda Chamber of Commerce will be lighting their tree at Chang Hu Park on Saturday near the end of the daylong Christmas in Gowanda festivities within the village.

Though it’s listed as the 10th annual, the Christmas festivities, including the tree lighting, have been going on much longer than that. Over the years, it has consistently grown, as the day now includes a parade following the tree lighting, a home Christmas lighting contest, and much more, with the earliest things beginning at noon on that Saturday. Gary Patterson of the Gowanda Chamber said that the environment of the festivities is always festive.

“Jovial is what you would say,” said Patterson. “Hopefully there will be a little bit of snowfall but not too much. There’s a lot of excitement, especially for the kids. It’s a family-oriented thing and the kids get excited seeing the fire trucks, Santa Claus will be on one of them and might be meeting kids in front of the Hollywood Theater.”

Last year’s tree lighting was broadcast virtually over Facebook, as crowds couldn’t gather in the park due to the pandemic. Though the house decorating contest and parade still went on as normal, people in Gowanda are excited to be back for the festival. Patterson estimates a pretty strong turnout.

“I’m sure there will be 100 people there, maybe more,” Patterson said. “I don’t want to overestimate it. There’s usually a decent gathering at the park. The turnout may be two or three hundred for the tree lighting.”

To try and get the community involved, there is a “shop local” contest going on that day where residents and visitors are encouraged to shop at local businesses, with the extra incentive of additional prizes. The whole day culminates in a big fireworks display, to be set off around 8 p.m. at the American Legion at Gowanda.

“It ends with a bang,” Patterson said.

The full schedule of Christmas in Gowanda is as follows:

¯ Noon and 5 p.m. — Showing of An American Tale at the Hollywood Theater

¯ Noon to 2 p.m. — Adult and Kid craft time, sponsored by the Gowanda Free Library

¯ 11 a.m., 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m. — Santa Express Train Rides, tickets starting at $22. For tickets, go to nylerailroad.com

¯ 1 to 3 p.m. — Horse Wagon Rides, provided by Collins Draft Horse Club

¯ 5 to 7 p.m. — Meet Santa’s Reindeer, located outside the Persia Town Hall.

¯ Noon to 2 and 4 to 6 p.m. — Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and make crafts at Love, INC.

¯ 1 to 4 p.m. — Police Car and Fire Truck rides

¯ 3 to 4:30 p.m. — Craft and Cookie Decorating at the Gowanda Moose

¯ 4 to 7 p.m. — Free Hot Chocolate and Cookies at Persia Town Hall

¯ 7 p.m. — Tree Lighting Ceremony at Chang Hu Park, featuring a Live Nativity and the High School Choir.

¯ 7:30 p.m. — Holiday Spirit Parade, cash prizes sponsored by the Gowanda Fire Department And Chamber of Commerce.

¯ 8:15 p.m. — Fireworks display.

¯ 8:30 p.m. — Ugly Sweater Party at the Wicken Glen. Prizes will be for first, second, and third place.

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