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By Bill Peglowski
GOWANDA — The Gowanda Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing for the 2021 Christmas In Gowanda celebration.
Centered around the downtown business district, the annual celebration of the Christmas season is also the kickoff of the chamber’s “Shop Local” campaign heading into the holiday season.
While Christmas In Gowanda remains a Saturday-only event in 2021, many of the familiar in-person activities are scheduled to return. In 2020, the event was downsized from a Friday and Saturday schedule of activities to a Saturday-only one with parts of it being done virtually.
On Dec. 4, Gowanda’s New York & Lake Erie Railroad will be running the Santa Express train rides starting at 11 a.m. with additional trips at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 pm. Tickets are $22. Additional information can be found at nylerailroad.com.
The Hollywood Theater will be showing a children’s movie at noon that will be repeated at 5 p.m. Also starting at noon, the Gowanda Free Library will be hosting an adult’s and kid’s craft time until 2 pm. From 3-4:30 p.m., the Gowanda Moose Club will be hosting an ornament creation craft session. Horse-drawn wagon rides will begin at 1 p.m. along with police car and firetruck rides. While the wagon rides will end at 3, the other vehicle rides will continue until 4 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at Gowanda’s Love, INC to visit with the children from noon until 2 p.m. and then again 4-6 p.m. One of Santa’s reindeer will also be on hand for children to see. This very popular event is back and scheduled from 5-7 p.m. on the village square in front of Persia Town Hall. The town hall will also be the place to get free hot chocolate and cookies sponsored by the town.
As always, the highlight of the event will be the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Chang-Hu Park on West Main Street. This event is sponsored by the Gowanda Assembly of God and the tree will again be donated by the Dixieland Tree Farm. The tree lighting should begin around 7 p.m. with the annual Holiday Spirit parade following afterward.
Starting around 7:30, the parade will head back into the downtown area for the Christmas Fireworks display. This will be visible from the downtown area near the square. Gowanda’s Wicked Glen on Water Street will be holding an Ugly Sweater Party as the outdoor events conclude.
Some other events are also scheduled along with Christmas In Gowanda. The Enchanted Mountain Blue Star Mothers will be at Love, INC taking collections for active military as well collecting holiday cards for the troops. More information can be obtained via e-mail at president.ny16@bluestarmothers.us.
The Christmas in Gowanda Home & Store Front Decorating Contest is also back. Registration forms are available from Auto Wrench Connection, Village of Gowanda, Persia Town Hall or The Wicked Glen. Submission deadline is Nov. 30. Winners will be announced on the Christmas In Gowanda Facebook page Dec. 4.