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Connections: Christmas in Gowanda

By JEFF MARTIN

Now that I’ve finally digested and can move, I’m up and about looking for things to do.

Of course, now I live in Springville. That makes three addresses in the space of one year. No, I’m not a gypsy, a member of the wandering and persecuted Roma. I’m just Jeff, which is hard enough.

A quick glance through the Ellicottville Times and surrounding newspapers and periodicals shows a great deal of activities and events through the month of December.

First off, I should mention Christmas in Gowanda on Dec. 6 (today). I mention the event because, well, I’m partial to Gowanda and I lived there for seven months. Tucked between the hills of Zoar Valley, Gowanda has loomed large in my imagination ever since I was a teenager coming to visit my sister many years ago. I think everyone has places in their lives that live in their memory for reasons that canít be explained.

As I understand it, retailers in the downtown area will be open all day until 9 p.m. The buildings and surrounding structures will be decorated for the holidays. At 6 p.m. at Chang-Hu Park, the chamber of commerce and other dignitaries will light the village Christmas tree.

It seems as if 6 p.m. is the prime time when most activities begin, including children activities near the historic Gowanda Hollywood Theater, a beautiful building that is currently being renovated with private and public donations. In fact, the film, “Charlie Brown Christmas,” will be shown at 7 and 8 p.m., followed by a surprise Christmas classic at 9 p.m. The showings are free, but the Gowanda Food Pantry is encouraging people to bring nonperishable food items as a donation.

Other activities include face painting, letters to Santa and more. Local government officials will do a meet-and-greet, with free hot chocolate and cookies.

About a week ago, employees at Hager’s Flower store invited me and the girlfriend to the festivities. I remember them telling me about how they were offering free decorating demonstrations. They urge people to call before showing up, though. The number is (716) 532-4242.

At Artista Salon, beauticians will offer beauty tips, and at the Grudzien Agency, the Gowanda High School Spanish Club will have a jewelry sale. At Amish Collections, one of my favorite stores in the area, Santa Claus and his elves will be in attendance.

Of course, there is more, but why spoil the fun? All Ill do is leave you with this comment given to me while I was in Gowanda.

They’ve really improved the event over the years,î one of the employees at Hager’s told me. “It’s like traveling back in time. Itís like a Christmas postcard.”

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