Jingle and Mingle

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Contributing Writer
Paul Leone

Make a big day of it.

New to the Jamestown Christmas parade celebration, this year inaugurates what is sure to become an annual feature of the holiday pageant. The parade is all well and good, better than good, of course, but this year the parade becomes not only the happy singular feature of the city’s Christmas celebration but the culmination of an entire day’s worth of Christmas cheer. Jamestown’s first annual Jingle and Mingle Festival will provide holiday celebrants with a wide variety of play and activity appropriate to the season. Scheduled from noon to five downtown on December 2, preliminary to the parade, look for Third Street to be alive with color and music and motion.

Such a party has been discussed for several years among city officials and local boosters. Shout out to Mayor Sundquist and the Chamber of Commerce whose suggestions to Pat Smeraldo, director of the Chautauqua Children’s Coalition, motivated the planning and final realization of the event. The Chautauqua Children’s Coalition, founded three years ago, fosters partnerships among community organizations to promote programming in the interest of Chautauqua’s young people. With pride and indefatigable energy Pat Smeraldo has made of the coalition a vital and valuable piece of the county’s service sector. The Jingle and Mingle Festival bears witness to his leadership.

Festivities kick off with live music from Tracy Plaza. Third Street between Spring and Prendergast will be closed to traffic for the duration of the festival. Dan Stone and the Parks Department crew will construct a stage on the plaza for presentation. Two noteworthy groups will perform during the afternoon: Charity Nuse and Friends from 2:00-3:30 and Nerds Gone Wild from 4:00-5:30. Charity Nuse is a singer/songwriter and mandolinist out of Warren, Pa. She has been performing locally to a devoted audience for some time, most recently at the Beer Snob and, on Thanksgiving eve, at Group Ther-Happy in Lakewood. She will be joined on stage at Tracy Plaza by Jamestown’s own Sara Rafaloski .

Nerds Gone Wild is a Buffalo band consisting of five rather wacky young(ish) and self- proclaimed lovable nerds. The Nerds are a no holds barred party band devoted to New Wave and classic 80s style music. Voted number one at the Buffalo Music Awards, they promise the ultimate 80s music experience. Expect memorable visual and audial shenanigans.

As befitting a family friendly Christmas festival and the Children’s Coalition mission, Jingle and Mingle has scheduled a host of activities guaranteed to delight the children. Although hardly a spoiler the Grinch will show up. The Grinch, Buddy the Elf and other assorted costumed figures will play the street from noon until 3:00 PM in what is billed a Character Meet and Greet. At the same time, festival goers may experience downtown to the sound of Christmas music on the Magic Moments horse drawn carriage rides. There will be cookies and hot chocolate. Children (and grownups) wishing to encourage Santa Claus may take advantage of a Letters to Santa writing activity sponsored by UPMC.

Come in costume and take away a memory of the day and historical documentation of the city’s first Jingle and Mingle Festival. Have your photo snapped at the Snappy Accidents Photo Booth to be set up on the street, again, from noon until 3:00. Then at 3:30 head to the Reg Lenna for a free showing of The Santa Claus Movie. From there find your space (portable chairs a good idea) among the expectant crowd and await the arrival of the Light Up the City holiday parade. The parade leaves its assembly point at 6:00 PM.

Who doesn’t love a parade? What citizens of Jamestown have never attended one or more of the city’s past holiday parades? Third Street will be closed from Farm Fresh where parade participants will assemble-be there by 5:00 PM- through to Tracy Plaza. Downtown merchants are competing in a window decorating contest. Stores will be open. All will be lights and music. It will be a dense happy crowd. Thousand are expected.

By Pat Smeraldo’s count more than one hundred and thirty floats representing seventy organizations have registered to march. Oh, yes, candy will be thrown. Watch your proud politicians strut. Cheer on the best of the colorful floats. Cheer on the one, the only Santa Claus, who, appropriate to his celebrity status, will finish the parade on the final float.

The parade will end at Tracy Plaza at about 8:00. There the lights on Tracy Plaza’s always magnificent tree will be lit to the oohs! and the ahs! of the assembled. Fireworks above downtown and visible throughout most of the city complete the celebration.

The Gazette encourages the citizens of Jamestown to join the celebration. Enjoy Jamestown. The happiest of holidays to all.