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On a 'Silver Bells' theme, it's Christmastime in the city

The annual Silver Bells Festival organized by the city's Chamber of Commerce kicks off Monday with daily events through Dec. 9.

The event celebrates the song "Silver Bells" written by Salamanca native Ray Evans and his partner, Jay Livingston. The duo won three Academy Awards with their music, from movie and television themes to love songs and Broadway musicals. Evans died in February just before his 92nd birthday.

"Silver Bells" was sung by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the movie "The Lemon Drop Kid" in 1951. The song was first recorded by Bing Crosby.

Mayor Jeffrey L. Pond has issued a proclamation for the week inviting everyone to attend the events of "Silver Bells Festival Week."

>Events include:

Monday -- Essay contest for fourth- and fifth-graders of Seneca School. The topic is why the city needs a holiday tree. Winners will help light the official tree Dec. 8 in Jefferson Street Park.

Tuesday -- Three-point Silver Bells basketball competition during halftime of the varsity basketball game at Salamanca Central High School.

Wednesday -- Chamber of Commerce will judge businesses that have decorated in the Silver Bells theme at 5 p.m.

Thursday -- Holiday gift wrapping at Myer's Hotel on Wildwood Avenue. Gift wrap, tags and tape will be provided and anyone can bring up to three gifts to be wrapped. At the high school at 7 p.m. the Student Senate will hold a holiday talent show.

Next Friday -- The Dudley Hotel will offer "Silver Spirits" from 5 to 7 p.m. with snacks provided. Those attending can then walk across Main Street to the Ray Evans Seneca Theater for a 7:30 p.m. performance of "A Charles Dickens Christmas," sponsored by the Cattaraugus County Living Arts Association. A second performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Also, a festival Silver Belle and Beau will be chosen, honoring those older than 75.

Dec. 8 -- Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus at McDonald's from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. The annual Holiday Craft Show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Seneca School. The festival parade starts at 5 p.m. on Broad Street at Veterans Park and proceeds to Jefferson Street Park, where the holiday tree will be lighted. Community caroling will follow.

Dec. 9 -- The Community Choir will perform the "Christmas Seekers" cantata at 3 pm. in the United Congregational-Methodist Church at 134 Broad St.

For more information contact Chamber offices at 945-2034.

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