Village offers holiday boost

The Massena Village Board has provided up to $2,500 to purchase decorations that will enhance the holiday spirit this year in downtown Massena. They will be in addition to the stars and banners that have already been put on display. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Massena’s downtown will look a little more festive this holiday season after the Massena Village Board agreed to contribute up to $2,500 to add more decorations.

“You were very generous last year. We hope that you consider it this year,” Denise Murphy told board members during their recent meeting.

Mrs. Murphy is a member of a volunteer group that’s organizing this year’s “Massena Downtown Spirit of Christmas Tree Lighting 2019,” which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7.

Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire said decorations at last year’s inaugural event were well received.

“Last year there were volunteers trying to bring back the spirit of Christmas, as they referred to it. One of the items the village assisted with was the purchase of banners on light poles. They were very well received. We had awesome feedback. It made downtown Massena more festive, more vibrant,” he said.

In fact, Mr. LeBire said, one lady from Syracuse stopped to comment about how happy she was with the decorations.

The volunteer group also put together the downtown Christmas tree lighting event.

“There were over 600 people just for the horse carriage rides. We estimated 1,000, 1,500 people,” he said.

Mrs. Murphy said they have sent out donation letters and were very successful in obtaining silent auction items. That money, as well as money made from other fundraisers, will also be used to purchase decorations.

“It’s a small group. They’re getting donations, they’re getting activities covered and sponsorships. I’d love for us again this year to be able to add to the decoration side. Yes, it’s $2,500, but it’s a long-term investment,” Mr. LeBire said.

This year’s event will feature a number of activities, including horse-drawn carriage rides, raffles, live music and carols, cookies and cocoa, story reading and a tree lighting. Mrs. Murphy said local restaurants and stores would be open, and there would also be food vendors.

“We’re expecting to get at least 2,000 cookies this year to make sure there’s plenty for everyone. We’ve asked PALS (formerly the Boys and Girls Club of Massena) to man the cookie station again this year,” she said.

The Massena Volunteer Fire Department will have chicken wings for sale before the event kicks off, and a “giving box” will be set up to collect non-perishable food items for the local food pantries.

“That’s what they’re short of,” said Nathan Lashomb, a member of the volunteer group.

Mr. Lashomb said flyers had been sent and visits were made to business owners to encourage them to celebrate the holiday spirit.

“We are encouraging business owners and anyone who owns businesses downtown to decorate again this year,” Mrs. Murphy said.

Organizers said the event is a way to draw the community together.

This is a great event. This is one of those community collaborative events,” Mr. Lashomb said.

“It really is about community,” Mr. LeBire said.

The gist of it

n WHAT: Massena village trustees have agreed to provide up to $2,500 to a local volunteer group

n WHY: The group is organizing downtown Christmas activities, and the money will be used to purchase additional decorations

n WHEN: This year’s downtown Christmas event is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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