UTICA — The Christmas spirit was in the air Wednesday evening as numerous area residents joined in the fun for the 2010 Utica Christmas Walk on Main. The 2010 walk was a bicentennial edition as Utica is marking its 200th birthday this year.
The chilly temperatures didn’t deter a large crowd from coming out to take in the holiday festivities. Hats, gloves, scarfs and winter coats were the order of the evening, but most people had a warm feeling in their hearts, soaking in the atmosphere of everyone enjoying themselves among family and friends. Barrels were set up along Main Street with fires to provide a little more warmth as visitors passed by.
As the Christmas Walk began with the Bicentennial committee posing for a group photo, marking the end of their yearlong promotion, Santa Claus arrived on a Utica Fire Department fire truck, escorted by Frosty the Snowman and members of the Utica High School marching band and girls basketball team. Once downtown, Santa made his way to his personal house, ready to greet the long line of youngsters eager to give him their Christmas gift wishes.
The annual scavenger hunt then began, as participants made their way around the many vendors around Main Street, getting their walk brochures stamped and ready to collect the treasured prizes.
Legend Hills Orchard had product samples available from its store. Morgan Grange was passing out Buckeye necklaces. Oiler’s Meat Processing was offering numerous meat samples, reminding everyone that “Farmers and Hunters Feed the Hungry.” Special Christmas displays were set up at the Hufford House Museum. Hot food was available at the Utica Masonic Lodge and Utica Presbyterian Church. And numerous businesses had holiday cookies, candy, hot chocolate, coffee and the like ready to satisfy everyone’s appetite.
“We come down here just to see what’s here each year. We’re also going to the Utica Elementary Christmas program this evening,” said Betty Tiebout.
The high school marching band set up on South Main Street and provided Christmas tunes for everyone to enjoy. A special huge bicentennial cake was available at the emergency squad house for everyone to sample. And a special 200th birthday cake on wheels was positioned on Main Street to remind all that 2010 is Utica’s bicentennial.
“I come here for the people, the food and especially the Christmas spirit,” said Ellie Blue as she was busily making her way around the different vendor displays.
“I like watching the people have a good time, especially the kids,” said Utica Mayor Larry Friesel. “That’s what this is all about.”