(Photo by Alen Fetahi)

More toys, more people, brighter lights and more crafts all marked the beginning of the holiday season as the village of Saugerties and its businesses celebrated Holiday in the Village Sunday, Dec. 2.

This year’s celebration was highlighted, as it has been for the first two years of the event, by the giant Sawyer Motors toy giveaway in the Reis parking lot. The event has grown from several thousands of dollars worth of toys being given away the first year to approximately $9,000 worth last year, to more than $11,000 worth this year. The giveaway is funded by Sawyer Motors and other area businesses.

“We took it to another level this year,” said Bob Siracusano of Sawyer Motors, as more than an estimated 2,000 parents and their children jammed the Reis parking lot waiting for their number to be called to receive a new toy for Christmas.

More than 100 bicycles, numerous skateboards, scooters, and a host of other toys and sporting equipment were awarded.

Sawyer Motors employees donate their time at the event. They call local schools and social service agencies to make sure that needy families are invited.

Other donors included: Ward Backus of Backus Auto Body, the Village Apothecary, Village Pizza, Jack Naccarato of the Naccarato Insurance Agency, as well as a host of others.

“We did a lot of outreach with local businesses to make sure that the kids have a great Christmas,” Siracusano said. “We really appreciate everything the community has done to keep this event growing.”

“What a great and wonderful day,” said village historian Marjorie Block, who ran the day’s events for the sponsoring Saugerties Area Chamber of Commerce.

Watching kids receive toys at the Sawyer Motor’s giveaway, Block said, “the kids mean everything to this community.”

Elsewhere, about a dozen local crafters set up tables in the courtyard of ’Cue restaurant, which is closed for the season. Shoppers looking to pick up a handmade item as a Christmas present found a host of items to choose from at the small craft market.

The historic Kiersted House was also packed throughout the day, as docents gave tours and talked about the Kiersted family and what life was like when the town was first settled by the Dutch.

Santa and his elves were on hand at the Kiersted House to greet children, and, with Mrs. Claus, outside The Well.Unlike the past two years where high school students would dress up in costume and enact small vignettes in store windows, this year, shop owners just decorated their windows. Smith Hardware won first prize.

The Marleau Gallery, while not judged prize-worthy, had an excellent window, where mime Maggie Green and a young friend posed in the storefront.

As the day drew to an end, the Parade of Lights traced its well-worn path from Main St. to Seamon Park for a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” and the lighting of the holiday display/

Fire companies are also judged for their holiday spirit, and this year’s winners were Malden/West Camp (first place), Glasco (second place) and C.A. Lynch (third place).

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