Let the Games Begin!

Photo Courtesy of Jon Elder
Photo Courtesy of Jon Elder

Article Contributed by
Lisa Yaggie

Holiday magic is about to happen in Downtown Jamestown. This Friday, December 1st, one of the most looked-forward-to annual events will take place. The Winter Games Christmas Parade steps off from the 3rd Street Bridge at 6:30pm and makes its way down 3rd to Tracy Plaza / City Hall. Sponsored again by the Resource Center and the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC), this 15 + year tradition is one of the most well attended events all year.

Zach Agett, Marketing & Events Manager for the JRC says he is looking forward to his first parade. “This parade is quite a celebration, bringing out good crowds of residents who are there to kick off their holiday season.” If you have ever attended this parade, you know that it is a fun and festive atmosphere for all to enjoy.

This year’s parade theme, The Winter Games, is a nod to the upcoming Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea in February 2018. The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation earns a gold medal with their selection for Grand Marshall this year. Russ Diethrick is one of the area’s most well-known sports figures (Mr. Baseball), as well as being someone who embodies the spirit of Christmas year-round. Our Grand Marshall arrives in style, with transportation provided by Elite Kreations.

The Holiday Parade will have over 80 entries with fan-favorite fire trucks, marching bands, church groups, local businesses, civic groups and youth organizations. As in years past, just a reminder, participants have been asked to pass out candy if they choose, not to throw it from their float. Any group who is still interested in entering this year’s parade is encouraged to call Zach Agett at 489-3496 to register no later than Wednesday, November 29th. Seven trophies will be awarded in the following categories: Best Theme Related, Best Music Related, Best Youth Involvement, Best Business Entry, Best Civic Group/Not-for-Profit Entry, Best Emergency Vehicle, and the People’s Choice Award. Parade goers can vote for their Choice at the Announcer’s Booth in front of Tracy Plaza. Heather Jean from 106.9 KISS-FM will be the parade announcer along with Time Warner/Spectrum News hosts Mark Goshgarian and Katie Gibas. Spectrum News will be running the parade in the entire Buffalo broadcasting area for the first time ever. It will be good for the rest of Western NY to see how much spirit this parade brings to our city.

Last, but certainly not least, in the parade is the one and only Santa Claus, whose official transportation is provided by the Shults Auto Group. As Santa waves to all the good little boys and girls, we are all reminded of the joy we felt as kids during this time of year. At the conclusion of the parade, Mayor Sam Teresi will lead the lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony and the night concludes with a festive fireworks display over the Spring Street parking ramp. A special thank you to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for once again sponsoring this part of the fun.

Photo Courtesy of Jon Elder

The JRC will be keeping an eye on the weather forecast but anticipates a truly wonderful evening full of events in addition to the parade itself. From 5:00 – 6:30pm in Tracy Plaza, the crowds will be treated to pop & rock music from the very popular home-grown band, We Speak Canadian. The YMCA is hosting Santa’s Family Workshop from 7:00 – 9:00 pm (use the Pine Street entrance). Lots of fun holiday activities have been planned which includes getting to visit with Santa, his elves, Frosty, Rudolph and the Y-Guy, craft tables, face painting and temporary holiday tattoos. The Y will have pizza, snacks and refreshments for sale. Just like in the Olympics, you will have an opportunity to see some great local hockey being played. At 8:30 pm, at the Northwest Arena, the Southern Tier Xpress will be hosting the North American Tier 3 Hockey League East Division leaders, the Pittsburgh Vengeance.

Kristy Kathman, Office and Special Projects Manager for the Jamestown Renaissance Centers believes this is a truly magical time to enjoy all the good going on in downtown Jamestown. Ms. Kathman notes that all of the downtown businesses and restaurants love the holiday season and parade night in particular. “It is obviously a great way to bring in new customers and regular patrons alike. This time of the year has a tremendous positive impact on the downtown economy.” To help aid in that area, the JRC is sponsoring two distinct events, the Storefront Holiday Decorating Contest and the “Shop Small – Win Big” initiative.

The marketing arm of the JRC, Jamestown Up Close, invites all downtown businesses to participate in the annual storefront decorating contest with winners being announced the week of December 11th. To keep things fair, the panel of judges are community members (not JRC staff) and will be judging the entries at night. There will also be a People’s Choice Award so you are encouraged to place your vote on the Jamestown Up Close Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/JTownUpClose/).

According to Zach Agett, the “Shop Small ~ Win Big” program this year offers the opportunity to win some pretty neat prizes. If you spend $10 at any participating locally owned retail store or restaurant in the downtown area between November 25th and December 18th, you could win one of these prizes: Grand Prize – TCL 55” 4k Ultra LED Smart TV, 2nd Prize – Sonos Play:1 Speaker, 3rd Prize – Beats Solo2 Headphones or 1 of 3 consolation prizes of Amazon Echo Dots. To enter, after spending $10 at the participating location, fill out a ticket at checkout and drop it in the labeled game box. All winners will be announced on December 20th!

Photo Courtesy of Jon Elder

It is always important to show gratitude but especially during the Holidays. The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation would like to extend a special round of applause to the Jamestown Police and Fire Department personnel as well as the employees of the Board of Public Utilities for their cooperation and assistance during the year. The JRC would also like to especially recognize all the hard work and passion that goes into all the decorations that the City Parks department provides each year. City residents look forward to those beautiful snowflakes appearing to truly mark the start of the season.

John Williams, famous composer of Olympic Fanfare and Theme (1984) is quoted “The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for World cooperation, the kind of international competition that is wholesome and healthy, and interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us.” So let each of us enjoy to the fullest the kick off to the 2017 Holiday Season and may we reflect the best each of us can offer to our community and world.