By Jasmine Willis
DANSVILLE — The whole downtown came back to life after a long slumber in time for the traditional winter festival.
Winter in the Village went back to the roots of its humble beginnings with vendors outside in front of businesses up and down Main Street. Church Park was coated with Christmas Trees decorated by locals, organizations, and businesses. The giving tree from Dansville United Methodist Church always provides mittens, hats, and scarves but this time it added masks. A veterans tree stood to honor all veterans this year by leaving a name of your veteran on the ornaments.
There were eight ice sculptures that each told a little story this time. The Snowman Scavenger Hunt was new this year. The Vintage Snowmobile Show was new this year with 1970s and 80s era snowmobiles. Santa Claus stayed on the firetruck this year and waved to the crowd of children at Church Park. K’s Canine Training Services held her Dog Parade with Santa Claus this year.
Claudia Forrester, Claudia’s Creations owner was one of the many vendors on the sidewalks this festival. She recalled doing the festival the last four years in town hall.
“I think it is a great community effort. It is a great time for people to get together. You get to see old and new faces. As a business you get a chance to show off your talents,” she said. “I love meeting new people at this festival. I love seeing old friends I haven’t seen in a while. We all get a chance to get caught up with our lives.”
Forrester added she has built on her business over the years and even taught a new generation in her family.
“People really needed Winter in the Village this year,” she said.
Forrester had dreamcatchers, hats, scarves, mittens, wood crafts, and children crafts.
Kirstin George had a table set up outside of MacFadden’s Coffee this festival.
“I think it is okay to be outside this year in order to follow all of the rules. This is my second year doing Winter in the Village. I just started working on selling my crafts last year,” she said. “I have loved Winter in the Village since I was a child. It is really cool to be on this side of it now.”
George was able to see everyone set up early for the festival and get the warm feeling she had from childhood memories.
“I got to see them decorate and light up the trees. The trees were always my favorite part of the festival,” George said. “I know a lot of people this year that purchased one to decorate.”
George had handmade wood crafts, painted wine glasses, vinyl paintings, and more.
Sue Demuth, Dogwood Trading Company owner was overjoyed to have the festival go on
despite the hardships of 2020. It was what the small community needed this holiday season.
“We decided to have a Snowman Scavenger Hunt this time around. There are 16 places to find them and the children have until Dec. 11 to hand in the list for a chance to win prizes. The Dansville Public Library did a Gingerbread Story walk around the fence this time,” she said. “We have all of our brave crafters on the street and we haven’t done this since the first festival. We had our first Winter in the Village on the street. The next couple of years we placed vendors in various stores. After that we were able to go into town hall.”
DeMuth added Dogwood Trading Company will have 20 percent off storewide next Saturday, Dec. 12 as well.
Jerry Jackson organized the first ever Vintage Snowmobile Show this festival.
“I told them I wanted to do it for Winter in the Village. We had done it a few years at the Cohocton Fall Festival. It was always a huge success over there. I had to figure out how to do it here, and we found this parking area by the old CB’s Grill. At first, I was not sure how many would come, but when I showed up, we had a lot of guys here. I had someone come all the way from Akron, Ohio. We had the usual guys from Arkport, Wyoming (NY), and Greenwood,” Jackson said.
Jackson has always had a fascination with 1970s snowmobiles. His stepfather had a 1972 Snow Jet. His cousin had a 1976 Artic Cat. He grew up on these kinds of snowmobiles and being very interested in the show elements. He has his own Artic Cat now he is working on getting to run for the shows.
“These are a band of traveling gypsies. They have been doing these shows for a long time. They are a great bunch of guys. All over the country we have had shows being canceled. The Fulton NY Show that usually gets about 400 guys is canceled already for February. They were glad when this show didn’t get canceled too,” he said.
Jackson normally has trophies and fees for the show, but after everything he decided it would be free and no judges this year.
“It isn’t about the prizes and money this year. It is about the conversations with people. I have been very happy with the turnout. I have been learning a lot from the other guys,” Jackson said. “I am really happy to have the support. These guys are already in for next year if we do it again. The best part of the whole show is the friendships I have made over the years with these guys. They have given me lots of great advice.”
Many who came were amazed by the old-fashioned snowmobiles and it brought back childhood memories.
That is what Winter in the Village was about this year. Bringing the community together through nostalgia and holiday spirit.