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Lockport set for holiday festivities, Santa and all

For a quarter of a century, the Light Up Lockport Committee has worked on making the city sparkle at the outset of the holiday season.

This year's "Christmastime in the City" events are set for Friday night and all day Saturday.

Co-chairwoman Kathy O'Keefe, owner of the Noah's Ark toy store, said most Main Street stores will be open Saturday, several of them with special children's promotions.

But the biggest promotion of all is the visit with Santa Claus in the lobby of City Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

County Legislator-elect Anthony Nemi, co-chairman of the event, said about 300 wrapped gifts have been bought with cash donations to the committee.

"The kids have to be elementary [school] age," said Nemi, who is assistant director of youth and recreation for the city. "Hopefully we'll have one continuous line where kids can pose for a picture with Santa and then go to the Treasure Chest to get their gift," he said.

To relieve congestion in City Hall, some of the other events have been moved to the Palace Theater on East Avenue, O'Keefe said. Among them are a child identification program by the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and eye exams sponsored by the local Lions Club.

The events at the Palace run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., making it easier for parents to go there and then head for City Hall to see Santa.

"We're also providing a Holly Trolley to get people back and forth," O'Keefe said. It will use the Palace and City Hall as pickup points from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Knitted hats and mittens will be passed out to children at the Palace. "The customers at Shear Madness and the Dale Association knitted these hats and mittens," O'Keefe said. "It's exciting they worked all year on that."

Chris Zigler, owner of the Shear Madness hair salon, said she was tired of seeing small children who were cold because of inadequate clothing.

"I decided to ask my customers, and they came through," Zigler said. About 20 customers and 10 of their friends knitted for the effort.

"I had some other salons in Lockport participate in a day where they gave $1 per service [to Light Up Lockport]," Zigler said. The other salons were Ultimate Cuts and Hair Chateau.

Nemi is hoping the weather coop
erates better than it did last year for the outdoor Christmas tree lighting in Ida Fritz Park, West and Park avenues, at 6 p.m. Friday.

"Last year we had such strong winds, we had to cancel the Friday night events," Nemi said.

Activity in the park starts at 5:30 p.m. with a petting zoo, and plenty of hot chocolate and doughnuts. The Christian Academy of Western New York will provide carolers. Mayor Michael W. Tucker and Santa will light the tree.

Other events in the city Friday night will include a free concert by the True North Brass ensemble at 7:30 p.m. in First Presbyterian Church, 21 Church St.; opening night of "Scrooge -- The Musical" in the Palace at 7:30; and the Mayor's Charity Ball from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Lockport Town and Country Club, 717 East Ave. Tickets are $50 per person or $99 per couple; the proceeds will benefit Sister Loretto's Soup Kitchen at the Salvation Army.

Other Saturday events include Breakfast with Santa in the YMCA, 21 East Ave., from 8 to 11 a.m. A variety of events from 10 a.m. to noon will include Christmas crafts and carolers with a special appearance by Rudolph in the Dale Association, 33 Ontario St.; Christmas cookie decorating in Molinaro's Ristorante, 90 Walnut St.; and Skate and Lunch with Santa at Skateland, a roller rink at 1109 Lincoln Ave.

During the afternoon, Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 75 East Ave., will offer a display of Nativity scenes.


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