Margaretville gearing up for holiday celebration

By Pauline Liu
It’s going to look a lot like Christmas in Margaretville, during Thanksgiving weekend. Instead of decking the halls, local organizations are teaming up with village business owners to deck out Main Street with all of the trappings of holiday cheer.

A tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa Claus and a gift making fair for children are among the activities on tap.

The daylong holiday celebration, which is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26, is aimed at drawing visitors and locals alike to shop in the village. It’s the latest brainchild of an ad hoc group of merchants and artists called, Shop Margaretville. “Several of us sat down and decided it would be best, if we combined all of our efforts and started an action-oriented group, whose main purpose is to revitalize Margaretville and draw business to our area,” said Gerry Murphy, an interior designer, who owns M. Gerard County Home.

For the small village, which endured extensive flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, the festivities are proof that the community is coming back. In recent weeks, Shop Margaretville organized a community car wash, a farmers’ market on Main Street, a Halloween celebration and a lasagna fundraiser.

The festivities begin with a “Holiday Gift Making Fair” for children, which will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the second floor atrium of the Commons Building on Main Street in Margaretville.

“Artists from the Longyear Gallery and the Catskill Mountain Artisans’ Guild will be on hand to help children create a variety of traditional handmade gifts, have them wrapped and ready to give for the holidays to their friends and family,” said artist Jill Cline, who is one of the organizers. The event will be sponsored by the Guild in collaboration with Kids in the Kaatskills.

Santa Claus is coming to town. According organizer Marc Levenshus, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will depart from the Margaretville Firehall and greet holiday shoppers inside the Commons Building at 2:30 p.m., just as the gift making fair winds down. There will be photo opportunities with Santa and refreshments served. While the entire day’s program is free to the public, there’s also an effort to help the area’s needy. “All children (and adults) are encouraged to bring canned goods and non-perishable foods to assist the Margaretville Food bank in restocking their shelves in anticipation of the Food Bank’s re-opening,” wrote Levenshus in an e-mail. “The Food Bank has been closed since the flooding caused by Irene.”

Another highlight will be the lighting of the village Christmas tree in a ceremony at 4:15 p.m. next to the Central Catskill Chamber of Commerce information kiosk on Main Street. An interfaith invocation will be led by Father Paul Catena of Margaretville’s Sacred Heart Parish. Organizers of the event explained that unlike previous years, there will be no Holiday Treasure Express in the village this year. The event usually included a parade with floats and was held during Thanksgiving Day weekend. Organizers hope the event will return next year.